As parents, we want our children to be happy and healthy, finding hobbies, sports and activities that they will love for life.
We also want them to be safer in and around water, as drowning takes the lives of about 1,000 children in America annually.
To that end, we – as parents – sign our kids up for swim lessons. We carve time out of our busy day and spend our hard-earned dollars so our children will have this life-long – and lifesaving – skill.
Sometimes it isn’t always an ideal experience, with not every child loving swim lessons all the time – or at all. We get it. And we still want your family to have a golden experience.
At EZ Swim School, we realize that swimming isn’t going to be every child’s sport of choice, but we firmly believe that EVERY child needs to learn basic swim and water safety skills, and at an early age.
What do you do when your child whines and complains – week after week – about swimming? How do you know when to push your kids and when to take a break for a little while? It’s a fine line, and it isn’t always easy.
First, you need to find out why your child is balking. Is she burned out? Doing too many activities? Does she not click with her teacher?
Once you crack those code on the why of the “I don’t want to go” whine, it will be easier to chat with your child about why you enrolled him in lessons, and why it’s so important to keep going.
Of course, if your child is a toddler or a baby, it might be a bit more challenging and then, it’s up to you as the parent to decide if trying swimming again in a few months or a year is a better fit for your family. Sometimes, it can take a few tries to get a kid to love splashing and swimming in our pool. (Parenting reminder: Babies can have “off days” in the water too. Maybe your little one didn’t seem to like her lesson or was coming off a rough night of sleep? Was she hungry? We generally see most babies and toddlers love their time in the water, so if you hit a rough week or two, don’t fret!).
For older kids, once you pinpoint the reason or reasons, you can work toward a solution together. If he is burned out or tired, try a different time or day. If she isn’t clicking with the teacher, switch to a new one. If he’s frustrated that he isn’t moving up, talk with us! We might be able to give you some tips and tricks to practice at home, when being in the water is “just for fun” and there aren’t any expectations so you can see those extraordinary results.
We also encourage you to talk to your child’s swim teacher. He or she might have some valuable insight into why your child isn’t having a great time during lessons. Our instructors want your child to succeed and they use integrity, compassion and trust during every lesson.
Not all pushing is negative, and sometimes kids just need you to help them refocus and regain motivation. You have to realize the difference between positive and negative pushing, aka when to back off and stop lessons for a bit.
For negative pushing, if you find yourself using bribery, yelling or punishments to get your child in their swimsuit for lessons, it is likely time to take a break. That isn’t good for anyone, and it could lead to your child learning to have negative associations with the water and swimming. It’s OK to take a breather from swim lessons for a few months! We’ll be here when you are ready to come back.
Positive pushing looks different. If your child is simply bored or tired (or frustrated about a lack of progress) and you can easily motivate her to come to classes, keep going. Sometimes, children simply dislike transitions and if you see her happily swimming and splashing around – and she’s smiling and happy after class – keep at it. It’s likely an issue with transitions, and not a frustration or unhappiness about swimming.
It isn’t always easy to raise happy, healthy kids but by taking a few steps and having an open dialog, you can know when to push, and when to take a break.
After all, you are teaching your child some valuable lessons about perseverance, goal-setting and listening to his inner voice.
And that’s something to celebrate!