Courtesy: Elizabeth Wickham
I’m reading a funny book with great ideas called “Bare Minimum Parenting: The Ultimate Guide to Not Quite Ruining Your Child.” Although I haven’t finished it yet, the main point I’ve gotten so far is not to be an overachieving parent. The author James Breakwell explains that you can save a lot of time and energy by not trying so hard and not being competitive with other parents—and your kids will turn out just fine.
If you take that approach and transfer it to the swimming world, you may find the same results. Your kids will be happy, well-adjusted, self-sufficient and swim about the same or better than if you are overly involved.
Here are seven tips to try the less is more approach in swim parenting:
Our kids don’t need the best suit ever made at age 10, regardless of what other families are buying their kids.
We can be students of swimming technique to increase our own knowledge, but we don’t have to critique our children’s strokes.
We can talk about things other than swimming with our kids. Our homes do not have to be swimming 100 percent, all the time.
We can allow our kids to interact with their coach. We don’t have to be on deck everyday asking questions or for a review of what they need to work on.
Our kids don’t have to be on the biggest team to enjoy swimming or with the most famous coach to have a great swimming career.
We can help our kids’ teams wherever we’re needed—without taking over, becoming president, and putting in more hours than everyone else. Our kids will still respect us and the pool will be their space, instead of ours.
You don’t need to know the times from every race and for every other swimmer to be a great swim parent. The times are only one part of swimming. They offer a snapshot of our children’s progress in swimming.
In what other ways do you think that less is more in swim parenting?
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.