How to Prepare for Your First Weeks of ISR Lessons



What is ISR? 

ISR stands for Infant Swim Rescue, a specific type of swim lessons that train babies as young as six months old to self-rescue when in the water. ISR focuses on teaching infants the skill of rolling over to their back to float, rest and breathe.

Maybe you are anxiously awaiting your child’s first lesson to begin or maybe you are still exploring the option of ISR lessons. In either case, this quick list should help you prepare for those first few weeks, making it an easy transition for both you and your child.

  1. Watch videos of ISR lessons. The first few times I watched a part of a lesson I was in tears. It gets easier, I promise. Watching videos gives you an opportunity to familiarize yourself with what your child will be learning. Yes, many of the videos will include crying, but there are those that don’t as well. Knowing what to expect can make a world of difference for both you and your child. It’s important that while your child is in the water you keep an encouraging face and demeanor as they are looking to you for comfort and safety. If they see you upset of anxious, they will pick up on that and will have a harder time in the water.
  2. Ask the instructor if you can come and watch a lesson in person. Watching the instructor interact with the student in person can bring stress and anxiety levels down immensely. Since most videos you find online will be of the child doing one particular skill, not of an entire lesson, seeing how an entire lessons flows can be very helpful. You will see the individual care the instructor gives each student and how they work to teach these lifesaving skills. This will also give you a chance to get to know the instructor a bit more. I never did this and was so anxious about the first day that I actually made my husband take off work to be there because I didn’t think I could do it alone. 
  3. Go shopping! Since lessons are 5 days a week I stocked up on at least 3-5 swimsuits and swim diapers. I hate laundry as it is and wasn’t about to have to do it daily. Keep in mind the time of year, as not all stores carry swimsuits all the time. I was able to pick up some very affordable ones off BST sites and even found a couple at Goodwill, still with tags! Amazon was great to pick up a handful of reusable swim diapers for much cheaper than I found in stores. I also invested in a wet bag. It’s a much more environmentally friendly way to get your child’s wet clothing and diaper back home each day vs. a plastic bag that our particular club provides.
  4. Familiarize yourself with BUDS sheets, they will be your best friend for the next 5-7 weeks. BUDS sheets, which stands for Bowel, Urine, Diet, and Sleep, is very important to ISR. The sheets also track any medications given, reactions, doctor visits, or illness/rashes. Safety is a major priority so BUDS sheets need to be filled out daily and shown to the instructor before each lesson. This allows the instructor to monitor aspects of the child’s day, to plan the day’s lesson accordingly, ensuring the safest possible learning environment tailored specifically to your child.
  5.  Read the handbook and then read it again. It’s amazing how much information is packed onto the pages. Take your time and re-read if you need to. It’s overwhelming at first, everything you need to know and do for lessons packed into a small book. I would consider us a seasoned ISR family as we have gone through one full session and a refresher over the last 9 months, but after re-reading the handbook recently, I couldn’t believe what I missed the first time around or really never understood.
  6. Clear off your phone because you will need all the free space you can get for all the incredible photos and videos you will take to share with your family and friends!


Looking for a place to take ISR Lessons? Check out our new Swim Lessons Guide!


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