What do you expect your child to accomplish during their swimming lessons each week? Do you expect something specific from the instructor you chose to work with them? Before signing up for a swim program, I recommend writing down several things you expect your swimmer to get out of their lessons for the sheer purpose of letting them go. We expect a lot of things from life and these expectations tend to leave us feeling unsatisfied when the reality doesn’t match up and it isn’t fair to you or your swimmer to hold on to expectations that might only put an unnecessary weight on an activity meant to be fun.
If you choose to take my advice, write down any and all expectations you have for your swimmer, their instructor or the program itself and hang it somewhere you can see regularly. Take the time to think about how those expectations may influence the way you act towards the results you’ll begin to see. This is most definitely more of a life lesson, but I want to stress the importance of letting things happen organically during your swimmer’s journey through lessons. The more we expect certain results, the more pressure we’re ultimately going to place on our children around performing a certain way or attaining a certain level. It can end up being a debilitating experience and ruin a child’s experience of the water.
I’ve had many parents over the years come in and lay out everything that they want their child to be doing by the end of their lesson schedule and sometimes, their expectations aren’t feasible for their swimmer to achieve. It then falls to me to determine how far I can go to create the results these parents want to see without causing a negative reaction from their swimmer.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok to have goals in mind for your swimmer and we always want to push them to achieve everything they can, but to expect results, blindly is not the same as setting a goal. If your swimmer is old enough to talk to you about this, sit them down and figure out what they want out of the time and effort they’re putting in. This can at least put you both on the same page when coming up with goals around the water.
What are some of the goals you and your swimmer have agreed to? Aside from becoming water safe, what other goals do we want to set for our younger swimmers? Unlike expectations, which can be one sided, setting goals helps to encourage progressive action in the water and I look forward to hearing about the incredible things your swimmers achieve throughout their time in the pool.