What My Family Learned From ISR Swim Lessons


What My Family Learned From ISR Swim LessonsMy husband and I grew up on the water. Almost all sunny weekends of my childhood were spent on a boat and my husband has only a few childhood memories that lack a swimming pool. If kids could’ve had fins, we both would’ve had them. Fast-forward to young married life and we spent all the free time we had at the beach (perks of going to college in Florida!). To say water is an integral part of our lives would be an understatement. Water ebbs and flows through our family and we want to pass that love, and the memories that come along with it, to our kids.

Our kids were in life jackets riding boats before they could sit up and I was a ball of anxiety. When you’re around water as much as we are, you know how things can go wrong in a split second with zero warning. Young kids and bodies of water, of any size, do not mix. Sure, I wanted my kids to experience life on the water and make memories like I did growing up, but I was completely unaware of how nerve-racking it would be for me. I was unprepared.

Enter: ISR swim lessons

I had seen the videos online of babies that could “swim” and I knew I wanted my kids doing whatever that was. It took some researching on my part, but I eventually found my way to ISR lessons. With only one instructor in our area, my family ended up on the waitlist for a few months before there was a location and time that fit our schedule. I figured it was worth the wait based on the testimonials I had read and heard. I was not disappointed.

To begin with, you should know that ISR lessons aren’t like typical once a week swim lessons. They are a much larger commitment. The lessons are 10 minutes long and 5 days a week for roughly four to six weeks. If you’re anything like me, then you’re thinking: Ummm… What? No thanks. And if you’re also anything like me, you’ll be wanting to quit after about a week and a half of the early wakeup calls. (Here’s a tip: don’t sign up for an 8am lesson like I did. It was harder on me than my kids!).

Even though I complained about driving my kids an hour round trip for the daily lessons for six weeks, the peace of mind that it has brought me has been worth every second of the time it took. Yes, we had to schedule our summer around swim lessons. Yes, I put a lot of miles on my car. Yes, it took a lot of scheduling. Yes, we had to budget around it.

But would I recommend ISR? Absolutely.

My three-year-old son exhibits more competence in the water than I ever did at that age. Now he is more aware of what his body is capable of and he has learned the basic rules of swimming along with the dangers that water can bring. My water-induced-anxiety has been greatly reduced thanks to ISR swim lessons. I can’t just let him loose in the pool — he still needs reminders, reassurance, and an adult in the water with him — but I have huge peace of mind knowing that he has the skills and confidence necessary to save himself in the instance of an emergency.

To watch a video of my three-year-old after four weeks of lessons, follow this link: ISR video.

Based on my family’s experience with ISR, here are the pros and cons:


  • Effective
  • Life saving skill learned
  • Daily check-ins and updates
  • Child completes at their own pace
  • Trained and certified instructor
  • Child gains water confidence and competence


  • Time intensive – It’s a commitment!
  • Cost
  • Scheduling – Usually a long waitlist (area dependent)

I’m spending this summer watching my son create memories that will last a lifetime. Memories that, I hope, instill a love for water that he will pass down to his kids one day.

Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death in kids ages 1-4. With the right skills and effective supervision, drowning can be prevented. If you’re interested in finding a certified ISR instructor near you, check here. 

Related posts from Knoxville Moms:

What I’ve Learned in the Year Since My Nephew Drowned

The Real Truth About Drowning: It Happens in Seconds


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