Tag Archives: children swim lessons

Trying To Push My Kid Without Being A (Too) Pushy Parent

How do you know the difference between giving your kids a healthy push to get over their fears or whether you’re pushing them over the edge and into Paranoiatown? My hubby and I found that line can be fine when we had a recent hiccup at swimming lessons.

Logan at 10 months. He's always loved swimming.

My 3-year-old Logan has been in swimming lessons at the park district on and off since he was six months. They are so much fun, you get in the water with your babe where through games they learn how to kick, stroke and use flotation devices.

Hubby recently enrolled him in swim classes at our gym, it was closer and cheaper, plus the class sizes were smaller. Sounds like a win, win, win, right? Well it wasn’t.

Hubby got in the water around 10 a.m. with Logan and our gym’s pool is apparently freezing, but the boys splashed on. After about 15 minutes no one else was there and Hubby began to suspect something was off. Just before 10:30 a.m. little tykes in swim gear started to show up with their parents, but these parents were fully clothed.

Turns out these kids were pros. They didn’t get in the water with mom or dad because they were miniature Michael Phelps. Poor Hubby, as he stood there all pasty and wet, the parents looked at him like who’s this half-naked fool?

The kids were given towers to stand on since the pool is so deep, but Logan refused to be in the water without his dad. Hubby just stood near Logan while the instructor worked with him on different techniques.

After the class they came home and though Logan said he had fun, he didn’t want to go back into the water by himself the following Saturday. Hubby and I began to wonder, how hard do we push him to do this? We both liked the idea of getting him out of his comfort zone to stretch as a person, but as the days went on, Logan turned more and more against swimming alone.

He said he was afraid to get in the water without his dad because he didn’t want to fall. Rather than give him a complex, we decided to enroll him in another class where parents were allowed in the water. The day of the new swim class, Logan refused to even go swimming.

That’s where Hubby and I drew the line, we didn’t feel he had to swim solo, but he did have to swim. Hubby tried to convince him to go to class and all he got was a spectacular tantrum. About an hour later, I gave it a go. I dug deep in my mommy bag of tricks and pulled out all that I had. I prodded him, guilted him, pressured him and was about to bust out the brass knuckles when I got the idea to appeal to his altruistic side. I told him how his favorite boat wanted to go to swim class, but needed Logan to take him. My guy fell for it hook, line and sinker.

Hubby, Logan and the boat all got in the water that day and returned home excited for the next class. I’m glad we didn’t force him to take the plunge solo, but am happy we pushed him to take another dip. I hope that the next time he needs a little push, we hit the right buttons.