Courtesy: Elizabeth Wickham
The swim season has come to a close for most age groupers, high school and college swimmers. If you’re lucky, school hasn’t begun for your kids—yet—and they’ll get a few weeks of needed rest before crazy schedules amp up again.
Something we struggled with early on as swim parents was the concept of taking a break. We didn’t understand why the team took time off and shut down for one or two weeks mid August. We would take our kids to the pool to swim on their own, thinking they’d lose too much by taking time off. We finally learned that downtime was an important part of the process and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Swimming 50 weeks a year with meets September through early August means our kids are pushing constantly to improve and get best times. It’s easy to get caught up in that mindset ourselves. If your team and coach suggest time off, take it. The break will do your family good.
Here are a few tips on why we need to let our kids relax and take a break from the pool:
No matter how passionate your kids are about swimming, having a week or two off can be a needed relief. Pushing kids to swim 52 weeks a year may lead to burnout. Having a break can be the ticket to starting a new season refreshed with a renewed attitude.
Muscle rest and recovery.
Our children are growing and the busy school/swim year doesn’t always allow them the hours of sleep and rest they need. Take advantage of the break to let them sleep in and be lazy. Their muscles need to repair to avoid injury. Rest and sleep will allow their bodies to grow and recover.
Time to regroup and reflect.
Being out of the pool can be the perfect time for them to reflect on what went well during the past season and what they can do to improve. It’s hard for them to think about these things when they’re always on the go.
We need a break, too.
What will you do without driving the car pool or squeezing in a couple trips to the pool each day? It’s time for quiet family time, vacation, dinners together and a break from endless towel loads and trips to the grocery store. We can recharge our own batteries and get ready for a new season ahead.
Time for other interests.
My kids had other interests other than swimming, but didn’t always have time to explore them. Whether it’s music, art, crafts, reading, hiking, hanging out with friends—let them have a few weeks to try things they don’t have time for during the swim season and school year. They may spark an interest that they’ll dive into at a later time.
What are your favorite things about taking a break from swimming?
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.