Subject Search Bar

Dealing with Bad Behavior in Swimming Lessons Part 3

More Behaviour Management Strategies for Dealing with Bad Behavior in Swimming Lessons

The more I learn about behaviour management strategies or dealing with bad behaviour in swimming lessons the more I realise how little I know. More often than not I think it's more about patience than anything else. However, I have found there are general principals.

Last time I discuss how: Punishment Must Fit the Crime and Punishment Must be Pool Appropriate.

Image of a child and adults in the water facing each other. The child is crying. Behaviour management strategies in dealing with bad behaviour in swimming lessons.

Behaviour Management Strategies

This time I want to talk about how:

Punishment must be age-appropriate

Praise Lots


Reward good behaviour

Punishment must be age-appropriate

One of the great things about "the 30-second punishment" is that it is age neuter. It doesn't matter how old the student is the punishment is just as effective and for all the same reasons that it is effective with younger children.

Wait... Get Your Lesson Plans Here

Praise lots

Whilst browsing the Internet one day, I came across a forum for those who practice minimum praise with their children, arguing that in the real world you don't get lots of praise so children should be prepared now by keeping the praise to a minimum.

Personally, I am very sceptical that this formula for raising children has any real validity. I am however aware, that there have been studies that show, you can do harm to your Child's self-esteem if there is not enough praise in their lives but I don't know how much is not enough. I do know that if you want good behaviour in the pool you have to praise lots for every good thing your swim student does.

Reward good behaviour

There are many more ways to reward good behaviour than just praise. In my opinion, the best reward in the pool is a game at the end of the swimming lesson. I know of some teachers that give out tokens during class that go towards some sort of special consideration at the end of class either in the game or something else.

A game at the end of class can be an effective way of managing a class as long as any misbehavior is dealt with at the instance of it occurrence. If the only threat you ever issue is "you will miss out on the game at the end" your discipline is doomed to fall apart at some point because children only work in the immediate, what happens in the future is too far removed from there thinking. If you are towards the end of your class, then it will probably work but if not, you need some other incentive such as the tokens.

Just a note here, by tokens I mean some sort of plastic chip or something similar; not sweets. Except for special occasions such as Christmas or Easter (and even then you have to make sure you defer to the parent in case they have some sort issue with it), you should never give out sweets or any kind of food as a reward. Apart from all the food addiction issues of our society, you can end up confronting allergy issues that can literally cause health or even the death of your new swimmers.

But if you do resort to tokens or something similar, make sure you only reward good behaviour.

Don't reward bad behaviour
Which we will talk about next time


1 comment:

  1. Agreed! I teach a group of children of different ages every week and the parents are never satisfied with the punishments dished out or ever think their own child gets enough attention. I always go with praising as much as possible and if there are minor misbehavior issues trying to ignore it rather than developing them into something more serious.

    Chris - Simply Swim