Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Frightened, Screaming Children in Swimming Class




Frightened, screaming children can be a very traumatic for all concerned. Obviously for the child but also for the parent and the swim teacher.

After watching one teacher and child today struggling to come to an amicable settlement I just had to say sometime about it.

Over the next couple of posts I'm going to go over some Do's and Don't and some miscellaneous aspects of dealing with Frightened, Screaming Children in Swimming Class:

Don't Panic
Don't try and do your lesson
Don't try to do anything

Do Talk

Do distract I used to use toys.
Do keep parents near by
Do listen to parents
Do let parents interact (mostly)

Bribery works
Expect that they will do what you say
Do what you say and say what you will do


Don't panic

Children are very sensitive to the vibes (feelings and moods) of those around them. Anyone who works with children knows this and if you don't work a lot with children and you want to know just how sensitive children are to the mood of a place then just ask someone who does about the first time they were in a room full of children and one began to cry for a reason they were never quite sure of and soon every child was crying and you were quite sure they didn't know why other than the first child was crying

It is therefore vital that you convey calmness and confidences no matter what calamities are going on around you. Children will never trust you if you don't trust yourself.

Don't try and do your lesson

Your job is to get the child to trust you so forget about your lesson plan. Take the time to get go know the child, at least as far as that particular child is concerned. I have very vivid memories of watching one swim teacher holding a child that a parent had given her, looking up at me with pleading eyes for help as the child screamed and carried on; I tried to advise the teach through her supervisor; but despite her look for help she insisted on trying to do her lesson with the child the moment he started to settle down; resulting in the child getting even more agitated and the lesson eventually being forced to be abandoned. If the teacher had just been that little bit more patient and waited for the child to be ready to do something she would have not only won a new student but also a friend.

Don't try to do anything

I have had swim students were I spent two to three lessons just nursing them in my arms or letting them sit whilst I worked with other students all the time talking with them about anything but swimming.Other times I've done nothing but walked up and down my area nursing a screaming child and talked quietly in the child ear, reassuring all the time.

Next time I will talk about the Do's of dealing with Frightened, Screaming Children in Swimming Class

Do distract (I used to use toys).
Do keep parents near by
Do listen to parents
Do let parents interact (mostly)

Enjoy
   Richard

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