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Welcome to the Otter Blotter!
May 26, 2010

It is almost summer and time to get ready to swimming this summer.  Many of our children have made tremendous progress in recent weeks. We were very encouraged by the recent opinion concerning swim lessons for children from the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Click here to read that article.  They have come to believe like we do that safety around the water requires multiple layers of protection including safer water, safer kids and safer response. We believe swimming lessons to be a very important component to helping children to be safer around the water.  We support an organization called Safer 3 that promotes these values.  If you would like more information on Safer 3 and how to help your children be safer around the water just ask any deck manager or ask for a brochure at the front desk. Have a safe summer!

Thanks to everyone that came out to testing day.  We had a lot of kids get a chance to find out if they were ready for testing at the Y and scout camps and swim team. Remember when you are going to take them for testing, talk up the fact that they can do it and spend a little time at the pool warming up and getting them used to the pool before the test.   We were impressed with all our swimmers but especially William Morton whose camp required that he swim continuously for 5 minutes and then tread water for 10 minutes.  William accomplished that and we wish him luck as he tests for real at the camp.  And by the way, William is not quite 8.


Building Self-esteem


We all know that children need to be encouraged through recognition and praise.  We want to build them up and help develop self-esteem, so we take advantage of every opportunity to say things like, "good job!",  "I like the way you...."  "I knew you could do it!".


Although these are positive statements are intended to compliment the child's accomplishment, it also sends a message that focuses on our (the parent/ teacher) approval. "Good Job!", "I like the way you.....", and "I knew you could do it!",  are all statements where the person making the statement, is the main subject.  In other words,  "What you have done pleases me and because you have pleased me, I am happy!."


Instead of saying,  "You didn't cry!  I'm very proud of you!"

Try this:  "You didn't cry at swim lessons because you have worked so hard at being brave and coming to every class even when you didn't feel like it! "


Instead of saying: You didn't leave your shoes in the floor this time.  I'm proud of you!"

Try saying:  "You remembered to put your shoes away because you've been paying attention to our rule about picking up after yourself. You are really getting better at being responsible!  Aren't you proud of yourself!"


True self-esteem comes from being proud of one's self.  Knowing that the choices you have made and actions you have taken are meaningful.  True self-esteem comes from within ourselves, not from the approval of others.  As parents you are constantly guiding your children and teaching them about values and acceptable behavior. And of course you should be encouraging them with your recognition and praise, however, when you're ready to praise them, be sure to praise their actions, not their ability to please you.

-Lory Kirk

 Summer Swim Tips


Now that the weather is warm, everyone is headed for the pool! Don't be surprised if your little one becomes intimidated and seems to have forgotten all of his swim skills. Here are some tips to making a smooth transition from the swim school pool to the family pool.


1.  It is normal for your child to be cautious in an unfamiliar environment.  Initially, he may want to stay in the baby pool vs the big pool or hang out on the steps or the side.  Allow him the freedom to take his time and go at his own pace. 


2.  Your child is accustomed  to 90 degree water.  Most outdoor pools are going to be much cooler than this.  Cold muscles take longer to warm up. Therefore it will take longer to relax and feel confident. Try wearing a regular rash guard or a thermal rash guard to prevent the shivers.


3.  Avoid floaties if at all possible.  Floaties give children a false sense of confidence, makes submerging difficult and creates vertical swimmers. 


4. Spend a little time practicing what to do if you fall in. Your child knows this as the "jump, turn and grab the wall" skill from swim lessons at Little Otter.  This is an important safety skill to review.


5.  Help your child to be realistic about how far she can swim.  Ask her to swim out as far as she can and then turn around and swim back.  Many children will forget to factor in the "swim back" part. They go out as far as they can and then they can't get back.  Teach your child to be aware of just how far she can go.


6. A child is not safe in the water until he can swim 50 yards and get several independent breaths. And of course no child is ever drown proof. Make sure that there is always an adult present who is actively watching the water. 

Bonus article from April and Thomas Garcia who bring their children to Little Otter and who own the Kids R Kids School of Quality Learning at Austin Village.  To learn more about them call 704-821-2005 or  click here

Teaching by demonstration


When giving children difficult or unfamiliar instructions, it's easier for them to follow if you demonstrate.  Words often aren't enough for children to take on a new action.  They need to be shown as well as told.  As you're demonstrating, talk about what you're doing.  If the activity is complicated, they'll need to be shown slowly in small steps and given a chance to practice until they can do it.  This is good for specific learning activities (for example, learning how to dress themselves).  It is also good for things you ask your children to do around the house (for example, setting the table). 

Thanks for reading the Otter Blotter and for swimming with us 
John and Lory Kirk
Little Otter Swim School

Otter B. Safe Tips
Always keep a close eye on your child at the pool.  You may have seen a child swim all the way across our pool and that same child may flounder in your neighborhood pool the first time the jump in.  Children can lose confidence for any number or reasons. And while swim lessons help your child be safer around the pool, there is no substitute for adult supervision.  On that same note, lifeguards are not babysitters and just because a pool has lifeguards does not mean you do not have to watch your child.  Lifeguards are just another layer of protection.
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Family Swim 
June 11
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Family Swim  
June 25
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Family Swim
July 9
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Family Swim 
July 23
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Take look at our calendar of up-coming events,  Family Swims and Holidays.