Sports like swimming aren’t just about competition. Participating in these activities can help children develop important life skills that can help them become well-rounded individuals.
Through learning and mastering new skills in the pool such as floating, diving and treading water, they can build overall confidence in their everyday lives.
Here are four ways to build confidence in kids with swimming:
Decisions, Decisions – Let Them Make Their Own
Overparenting doesn’t help anyone – especially when swimming. One of the best ways to instill more confidence in your child is by allowing them to make their own decisions in the pool. They can choose a game they enjoy, a song they like to sing, or which toy they want to bring in the pool.
Provide them with a few appropriate options and guide your child through the decision-making process to the right decision for themselves. Decision-making is a critical skill that will help them to make better ones as they face challenges in their life. They can learn from their good decisions, while even bad decisions can serve as life lessons. According to Psychology Today, children will often make impulsive decisions based on self-gratification. Help them learn that their decisions can have consequences especially when swimming and to make the safest decisions they possibly can by thinking it through before acting.
Be a Role Model
As a parent or authority figure, children are looking to you to understand how they should behave. That’s why it’s important to model confident attitudes and behaviour. In the pool keep a positive attitude and be fearless. Your child will soon learn that swimming can be a safe and fun activity when the rules are followed.
Another way to be a role model while swimming is to use positive self-talk in front of your children. Wearing bathing suits can make some kids feel self-conscious. Always exude confidence to promote healthy body image.
Encourage Goal Setting
Swimming requires a lot of practice! There are no shortcuts. Help your child become a more confident swimmer by encouraging them to set goals. Goals help your child stay motivated in the learning process and feel positive about themselves when they finally achieve something they were working towards.
It’s important for these goals to be appropriate for their age and swim level. Allow them to choose the goals that they think are important for their own learning and encourage them to make the goals specific.
Here are a few examples of the types of swimming goals you can help your child set:
- Collect a toy the bottom of the pool
- Tread water for 2 minutes
- Sit on the pool floor
- Swim 2 laps in the shallow end
Be Their #1 Fan
We understand you want your children to make progress, but it’s always important to encourage them throughout the learning process. Don’t continuously criticize or point out what they were doing wrong. Instead, provide them with positive feedback. If they improved their front stroke or mastered a new pool skill, make sure to acknowledge these improvements.
Celebrate their progress using growth charts or document their progress through video. Use these as reminders to help them to continue their journey and not give up. They’ll see how much they’ve improved as a result of their efforts and stick to meeting their goals.
According to research from Science Daily, young children rarely respond well to criticism. Children under eight years old learn best through positive feedback. While, children 12 and up are better able to process negative feedback. This means positive reinforcement is the best way to help kids become better swimmers and grow their confidence.
Swimming continues to be one of the best ways to build confidence in your child. Use our tips to help your child feel their best in the water and out.