How do we get children to engage in sports, especially swimming?
Some kids are naturally inclined toward sports; they enjoy the competition, letting out energy, are willing to follow instructions and waste no time leaving the computer and going to engage in a sport activity.
In this article we will discuss the other type of children, those who would rather do nothing but veg out in front of the television. Getting those kids to leave the screen and go out can be a nightmare.
I have to admit that dealing with those kids is not easy. The technological aspect of our lives is crazy. The best experts in the world work to create cool buttons that make us want to press then, games that make the child want to play more and more, games with a beginning, but the end is a faraway dream. They can refrain from eating or even going to the toilet because they’re in the middle of a game.
The first question we must ask ourselves is how we balance letting them play (because preventing it altogether will be a mistake. They will become frustrated and seek to get it elsewhere) and limiting the amount of time they spend playing.
We must try to meet the child half way while setting boundaries, e.g. one hour after lunch and homework until 20 minutes before going off to an afternoon activity and 2 hours daily on the weekends. Some parents may say this is too much, but I’ve come to this conclusion after speaking to many parents and reading professional material from around the world. But try to find your boundaries, there is no 1 answer.
How do we get our reluctant child to engage in a sport activity in an afternoon class?
A few tips:
- Find a friend who attends the class.
- Watch a class together to see how much fun it is.
- Have the accessories at home before even starting (e.g. a basketball, helmet, ballet shoes or water toys).
- Eat something sweet before the class (but not chocolate) and discuss the importance of strengthening the muscles, so that the child will associate this with the good experience of eating something tasty.
- Talk to the instructor if the child has any sensitivities to make the experience as friendly as possible.
- There’s no second chance for a first impression – Take the child to the best, most sensitive instructor. A bad first experience can make the child not want to have a second.
- If you need, get 2-3 private lessons with the instructor first, to help the child adapt.
- Take pictures during the class and show the whole world how well he/she did.
Let’s talk about the water for a second. At Water World Centers the person in charge of newcomers is a professional trainer who knows how to receive a group and create a positive atmosphere, and still, how do we prepare the scared child?
- Let them choose their own swimsuit in their favorite color, with their favorite superhero or princess.
- Buy a few sinking objects or a plaything that they like to take to class.
- Make them choose goggles, even if they don’t get to use it right away.
- Show them a picture of the instructor if it’s possible.
- Talk to them about what to expect in class and say there’s going to be a lot of games.
- Advise the instructor about what the child is feeling.
In short, children must be well prepared for changes, just like us.
Give your children a safe place, strengthen them, be tolerant to their fears and concerns, and if you want, you can consult one of WEST swimming coaches. No effort is too great to ensure that your child has the best first experience.
Last tip from WEST swimming technique, look at the instructors eyes and as a parent you will know if this is the right instructor for your kid.