Swim Mom: A Few Parent Tips for a New Season

Courtesy: Elizabeth Wickham

With a new season approaching, it’s a great time to reflect as a swim parent on how the last season went and what we’d like to change. Was the schedule too hectic for your family? Do you need to cut out a few activities? Or, start a car pool or ask other parents to help?  Maybe the last season was perfect and you’re looking forward to another one just like it.

Here are a few tips to have a great swim season:

Let our kids take ownership of swimming. Ask what their goals are and make sure they are swimming because they want to. The season won’t be a good one if they are swimming to please us. This applies outside the swimming world, too. By doing things they truly enjoy they will develop their own interests to pursue the rest of their lives.


Listen more and speak less. On the drive home after a meet, let our children speak first. If we start talking and going over how they swam, they will most likely resent it. They may interpret our helpfulness and critiquing as though they’ve disappointed us.


What can you do to help the team? Ask the board or coach if there’s an area where they need help. Coaches and boards hear mostly complaints. What a welcome change to have someone offer to help.


Be in the moment. How many times have you heard a parent say they can’t stand sitting around at a meet to watch their child swim for a few minutes? It’s all about attitude. Be grateful for those moments—before you know it they’ll be gone.


Enjoy the community. Are there new parents you can help at meets? They may feel intimidated and a friendly smile and chat can go a long way to making them feel welcome.

What are your ideas to start out the new season better than the last?

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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4 years ago

My family was in age group for a combined 25 years. I was more comfortable on deck as a ref than sitting in the stands. I recall one very early morning drive to a meet, nursing a migraine over the stress of being meet ref. It hit me that I could be driving my child to a hospital instead. Changed my outlook. Relish life’s blessings.

Reply to  Susan
4 years ago

I sat for several years watching my (always small for his age) son play football, praying every game he wouldn’t get hurt in the few minutes he played. I LOVE watching him swim now, and even the sometimes stressful task of scoring is a better alternative any day to watching kids being carried away in ambulances.

4 years ago

Very helpful tips! Thank you

sane swim parent
4 years ago

Re: number four. Swim meets ARE boring. And age group swim meets are positively excruciating, since I’m not even watching *good* swimming. That’s why I officiate.

Reply to  sane swim parent
4 years ago

Sounds like our sport may not be for you. And that’s completely okay. We certainly appreciate your volunteerism as an official. But if your view of the activity isn’t positive, you might wish to reconsider participating. I certainly hope the swimmers and parents aren’t aware of your thoughts.