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safesplash blog

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 by Vic Gutierrez

How to Keep Your Child Motivated to Stay in Swim Lessons (or any lesson)

Through my years of teaching, I’ve seen all kinds of parents and students from all walks of life come into swim lessons. Sometimes, unfortunately, I hear a child tell me they don’t like being in lessons and I always ask them why. Some answers I’ve heard include: “I don’t care about it anymore”,  “It’s not fun”, “I know how to swim, why should I stay in longer?”SafeSplashHR-9458.jpg

From an instructor perspective we can change the way we teach to combat these responses. Sometimes the child likes/needs a little more rigidity and structure, and sometimes the child needs to feel like they’re playing rather than learning, although they are.  However, the instructor can’t always control some of the things that motivate a child; that’s where the parents come in. Here’s a quick list that might help motivate your child to stay in lessons.


  1. Tell your child you like to watch them swim, but try not to critique their performance, that’s what the coach/instructor is for.
  2.  Be involved! I’ve noticed when a child sees their parent on their phone, computer, reading, or simply not there, they are less likely to want to push themselves or participate in class. Kids love to say “look mom/dad, watch this!”
  3. Encourage them without distracting them. It is very easy to cross the line from helpful encouragement to hovering over the class and being a distraction. As long as you are sitting and watching the class, with the occasional thumbs up or clapping, you are doing great! If you start commenting on everything during the lesson, it may get old for your child and you may become a distraction.  
  4. Let your child take ownership of his/her lesson. Let them decide on a goal or challenge they want to complete and convey it with their coach. Often times a simple goal such as wanting to swim freestyle or float on their back by a certain time can boost their confidence and help them motivate themselves to come to class.
  5. Let them have fun! Though lessons are a place for learning just as much as school is, there is always room for a little fun during a lesson.

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