Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham
As a swim parent, I’ve made my share of mistakes. Through the years, I’ve evolved and hopefully improved. For example, I am not the same swim parent today that I was 10 years ago. I still get nervous at meets, but I no longer compare my kids to other swimmers. I enjoy each moment as a swim parent, knowing that I won’t be in this role forever.
The New Year provides a golden opportunity to reflect on our swim parenting skills. Are we adding to the swim experience—or detracting from it? Here’s my list of 21 New Year’s Resolutions for all swim parents:
I will get my swimmer to practice consistently and on time.
I will talk positively about the coach and team to other swim parents.
I will sign up to volunteer at meets early and often.
I will not compare my child’s times with other swimmers.
I will not show my frustration when my swimmer has a bad swim.
I will cheer, not coach my child.
I will reach out to newer swim parents and be a positive role model.
I won’t rehash swim performances on the drive home from a meet.
I will let my kids mature and take charge of their lives.
I promise to not helicopter and hover at practices and meets.
I will praise my swimmer for good sportsmanship.
I will provide healthy food at meets and at home.
I will let my swimmers find their own heats and lanes.
I will cheer for other swimmers on our team.
I will not use bribery to motivate my child.
I will encourage my child’s effort and not focus on performance.
I will not engage in gossip on the pool deck.
I will not automatically take my child’s side if there’s an issue with the coach or teammates.
I will not stand behind the blocks while my child races.
I will not impose my goals on my swimmer.
What is on your list of New Year’s Resolutions to be a better swim parent?
Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog.