Tips for Dealing with a Misbehaving Child

“Oh, my!” you exclaim as you realize that the child that is misbehaving during swimming lessons is yours. And it may not be the first time this has happened.

You may consider one of all of the following:

  • I’m not bringing this child to swim lessons anymore.
  • The teacher thinks I have no control over my own child.
  • The other parents are getting annoyed that my child is disrupting the class.
  • I’m embarrassed by my child’s behavior.

Hang on. No one is judging you. Children misbehave.

They are children. It is not unusual for children to misbehave during lessons. And you can work with your instructor to overcome this phase.
Remember:

  • Being in the water is fun and exciting. It’s a different experience for children.
  • Children love to experience the different sensations of being in the water offers – jumping, bouncing, weightlessness.
  • Have realistic expectations of your children’s behavior. Consider their ages and relative attention spans.
  • This is one of the first formal and structured learning environments that children may experience before starting school.

There are methods that work and some that don’t and we’re sharing some of those here.

Don’t Try to Manage Behavior by:

  • Making idle threats.
  • Offering bribes with candy.

Do try:

  • Talking with the instructor, administration or deck supervisor about how realistic your expectations are.
  • Finding out exactly what the class rules are and making sure children understand them.
  • Being consistent and following through with consequences for unacceptable behavior.
  • Watching the lesson and giving them positive feedback after they have finished.
  • Giving children the chance to play outside of the formal swimming lesson.
  • Making sure you let the teacher know if there are learning difficulties to be aware of.

You’re Not the Only Parent with a Misbehaving Child

Everyone has been in your shoes, so there is no need to be embarrassed. If it isn’t in swimming lessons, all parents have had to endure the misbehavior of children at some point in a shopping center or while in the home of friends or family. And what’s more, every session, swim instructors see misbehavior in children. It’s a common occurrence because it’s a natural progression that happens as children go through stages where they test their boundaries.

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