Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham
Swim meets are a world upon themselves. They can be stressful, fun and a wild roller coaster ride. If we step back and let our swimmers take over, meets can be a place for them to be responsible. They provide many opportunities for our kids to practice skills that will cross over to the real world—in college, careers and families.
Here’re a few life lessons your kids can learn from swim meets:
How to talk with adults in authority positions.
Whether it’s an official who explains a DQ or volunteer moms and dads at check-in, our kids have talk to a whole lot of grown ups without our help. When they talk with professors, bosses and landlords, we won’t be at their side.
Being on time.
If they’re late to the blocks and miss an event, they’ll learn that the world won’t wait for them to show up. What a valuable lesson for school and work.
How to handle disappointments or upsets.
When our kids add time, or miss their goals, they’ll experience disappointment. They’ll also discover there is another swim, another meet and they’ll get to try again.
Kids learn good sportsmanship from handling defeat as well as from their wins. Meets give our kids a chance to view gracious winners and losers—and some who aren’t. They’ll learn what it means to have good teammates and to be a supportive teammate, too.
Being accountable for their actions.
It’s up to your swimmer to talk to their coach, warm up and warm down. They’ll find out what happens if they don’t do these basic things. In life, this translates into good study habits and taking ownership for their decisions.
How to handle constructive criticism.
After races, your swimmer will get some advice and suggestions from their coach. It’s imperative that they learn from their experiences and are able to accept constructive criticism. One day, they may find themselves face to face in a review with their boss.
They get out of it, what they put into it.
Swimming is like a bank account. Your swimmer can only withdraw what they have put in. The deposits in their account are the hard, consistent practices. They will gain self confidence from knowing they’ve done everything they could to be successful at a meet.
In what other ways do you see swim meets helping your kids throughout their lives?
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.