The parent's role in swimming
All children should learn how to swim, but he/she needs to enjoy it first, to be happy and relaxed in the water and around it. This is why it is important that the coach or a parent is a partner, and to know his/her role.
This is not a parenthood lesson, but a story of my experience, how you, as parents, can help your child overcome difficulties in learning how to swim.
This is why your role is important
Talk to each other: Our role is not to be their shadows and stalk them to see what they are doing and how they are behaving in the water and around it. It is our role, however, as parents, to talk with them about the worst scenarios – to educate them. Of course, apart from knowing how to swim. Parents usually make a big mistake by thinking they can relax once they put their child in a swimming ring or put on inflatable swim wings. There’s no time for relaxing when a child is in the water, swimming, let alone a non-swimmer near the pool. You shouldn’t panic now, or be a policeman at the pool, but you should be aware of all the things that may happen to you, which don’t always happen to someone else. For this reason, talk with your children, talk, I believe, and I know the words will stay in their smart little heads.
Create a safe environment: Always make a relaxed atmosphere to make children feel as conformable in the water and around it as possible. The most important thing, of course, is that
you, as a parent, are relaxed, patient with the child, who at first might not feel comfortable in the water. If you’re afraid of the water, don’t project your fear to your child, because in that way you can take away his/her chance to swim and enjoy it. Once your child starts feeling comfortable in the water, only then can you consider starting learning how to swim. And trust me, once you start it together, swimming will remain the love of your life!
Stay a parent, even at the pool: I know that all parents, myself included, want the best for their children. But... There are limits when parents should just stay parents, sitting on a bench, enjoying, listening, watching, cheering or “biting their nails”. They should never make remarks during the training, let alone «teaching» the coach or the child.
From the moment I became a parent, and the coach at the same time, it’s been rather hard for me to imagine «forcing» my children and expecting them to be swimmers, just because I was a swimmer or because I would like them to be swimmers, or because that’s my job. Children should just play, and they should learn the basic swimming techniques while playing. The point of a training is to master swimming, to learn something new, and to use the opportunity to make friends, maybe for a lifetime.
Encourage them to swim, not to give up: I believe that we all, as parents, teach our children that they’re not less valuable if they fail to win a medal. We encourage them to swim even when it’s “hard”, because in that way we teach then not to give up in the pool, but also outside the pool. Let them have fun while swimming. We, as parents, are expected to encourage them, and be their great support when they need it.
Swimming can teach children about life, to be hardworking, persistent and to endure, to fight when it’s hard, to enjoy their victory and nice things, to accept a defeat, to be healthy… Dear parents, swimming is your best partner in raising your children to grow up into healthy, good and hardworking individuals.