Swim Mom: 5 Parent Tips About Taking a Break

by SwimSwam 5

August 15th, 2019 Lifestyle, Swim Mom

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.

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1 year ago

A year ago, my futures finalst kid took off half a year to run exclusively high school cross country with a top 5 xc high school team. Didn’t get in a pool for 6 months. It was the best thing he could have done. Did his upper body atrophy? Sure. Was it painful to at first put up times slower than a year ago? Yep. But his body and mind got a break.

I’d NOT recommend doing what he did as being for everyone, but would recommend considering a longer than a few week, purposeful break.

1 year ago

Elizabeth another great article.
When our kids were young (12-ish) we would make them take a spring or summer session off. They would be bored for a week but quickly found other stuff to fill their free time. After a few weeks away, they really missed swimming and were anxious to get back to the pool and their friends. Better to be bored for a few weeks on dry land than burnt out in the pool later.
One summer our son ran track (sprints and short distance). When he returned to the pool he was far more explosive off the blocks and turns. I think the improvement in his explosivness far outweighed the drops he would have achieved… Read more »

1 year ago

This break doesn’t really happen where I am from. Parents arrange for private lessons or go down to Florida or elsewhere for additional training sessions when coach takes a 2-3 week break. They even hire coaches. Many aggressive swim moms and dads pushing their 11 year olds with long distance butterfly as a means to get cuts faster (I imagine because less kids doing that stroke at 11 so seemingly easier). It never ends. Then they plan for swim sessions on vacation too. All my Florida coaches must see this frequently. When you ask these parents they always tell you Jonny wants to do it. No matter what doctor or coach or seasoned swim parent says about how great rest… Read more »

Reply to  Swammer
1 year ago

The sportsclub where I workout at the swim team takes most of the month of August off but there are lots of Asian kids whose parents still bring them and make them workout. I see some of the parents coaching them. I feel sorry for those kids. In season they will bring them on the weekend also. Many on Sunday. Please stop. The other thing that really bugs me is during regular workouts the parents stay and sit there and watch the entire thing. They should all leave and go do some errands or something productive. Often I see them filming their kids when they are doing those extra workouts…oh the horror

Reply to  Taa
1 year ago

Swimswam: curious how a clearly racist post got through moderation?

TAA: As parents, we’ve all seen the type of pushy parent you’re talking about. But in my opinion, your post steps over the line. ‘Asian parents’, in my experience, don’t hold a monopoly for being pushy parents at 11. There are plenty of parents going ‘no breaks, ever’ cuz their kid got an AAAA cut and won zones at 10.