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Dealing with Bad Behaviour in Swimming Lessons?

Dealing with Bad Behavior in Swimming Lessons?

Sorry! I don't wish to be boring but dealing with bad behaviour in swimming lessons is a huge subject and there is only one way I know how to deal with a subject as big as this appropriately and that is in a very formal way.

Picture of a little girl in her swimming costume and goggles with the caption "Papa if you don't get these for our pool I won't come swim with you".  How Do You Deal With Bad Behaviour in swimming lessons.
How Do You Deal With Bad Behaviour?

So over the next few weeks, I'm going to tell you:

That you have to distinguish between bad behaviour and fear and how you can do that.

I am also going to talk about how:

  • Any Punishment must fit the crime
  • The Punishment must be pool appropriate
  • The Punishment must be age appropriates
  • You must Praise lots and
  • Reward good behaviour but
  • Don't reward bad behaviour

Now let's get into it:

Distinguish Between Bad Behaviour and Fear

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a swimming instructor is to not know the difference between fear and bad behaviour.

If you have trouble with distinguishing the difference between fear and bad behaviour then you have the problem, not your new swimmer. Look in the eyes of your student, if they are wide open and even the pupils are dilated then you are definitely dealing with fear. In contrast, if the eyes are set and defiant then you are probably dealing with bad behaviour.

But it's not always that clear and you have to learn to ask questions. The simplest question is’ “Are you frightened”?

Wait... Get Your Lesson Plans Here

Ask Questions

I am constantly amazed that teachers and parents alike don't think to ask questions.

It is probably too vague a question to ask a child, "What's wrong?" It's quite possible that they don't know themselves what's wrong. However, it is quite possible you will get an answer that you can work with if you ask, "What can I do to help you feel safe/better/fix this?"

The one thing I have learned after raising 4 boys to adulthood and now having grandchildren is that children's good behaviour is not always about good parental control. Sometimes it's about backing off and trying to negotiate a better outcome for all.

So unless it is a safety issue your first response should be to mentally step back from the situation rather than trying to win.

Be The Responsible Adult

Having said that it's not about winning all the time it also has to be said that you can't always be a Child's friend. Sometimes, particularly when it comes to class management and safety, you have to be the adult the responsible one so sometimes you have to win.

Next time I'll talk about how the:

Punishment must fit the crime
Punishment must be pool appropriate


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