At La Petite Baleen, We often get questions from parents about how they can best help their child through some common obstacles that students have when working through our program. It is important that teachers and parents are on the same page, and that we give the students the tools they need to work through these obstacles. Here are some common obstacles, and what we suggest for parents to help their students through it:
- Give your teacher or deck support a little info about the child such as their favorite show, favorite character, or pets at home. We can use this info when we’re working to bond with the child and get them smiling.
- Show confidence and trust in the teacher by letting the student know that you trust their teacher. Your child trusts you and looks to you for guidance and safety. Showing confidence and trust will help the student feel safe. Then, give the teacher the space to develop trust with the student. Once students are able to calm down, they will be reincorporated into class.
- Avoid saying things like “you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do” as that may set the student up for failure, and unnecessarily hinder progress. Again, trusting the teacher is important. It’s best to let the student know that you trust the teacher, and that the teacher will be there to help the student do things that are difficult or scary.
- Take a picture of your student once they start to crack a smile and then show it to them later to help them remember how fun class was last week!
- For separation from parent: You can help by leaving the deck to let the teacher bond with the student, and by being consistent with attendance. We realize this can be difficult, and have people on hand who can update you on your student’s progress throughout class.
- Also, see our “Crying” handout for more information on this, and other types of crying.
Child has regressed or plateaued:
- Avoid asking the student “when are you going to get a ribbon?” or saying “I hope you are going to get a ribbon this week” each week. We see this sometimes and it can stress students out and make them feel like they are failing. Students do not perform as well because they can’t relax. Instead, saying something genuine like “I really see you working hard on your _______ skill” “I love it when you ______ “.
- Help by working on homework, and/or doing Splash & Dashes to get extra practice.
- Request a progress report from your deck support or through a Parent-Teacher Communication Form so that you have an idea of specifically what the student needs in order to progress. This can also help you get an idea of where your student has made small progress that you can praise.
Child is not following directions or listening:
- Avoid interrupting class to help. It is important that the teacher develops the position of authority during class.
- Let the teacher or deck know what works at home so that, when possible, we can continue it here for consistency.
- Set consequences or rewards before class, and make sure to follow through.
- Be sure to lead by example and follow all of our safety rules to show students that it is the right thing to do.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully, it will help many of you to figure out the best way to support your students in swim class. It is our hope that this will also open up a conversation between you and your teacher or deck support. Our ultimate goal is to get everyone on the same page to help students progress and work through obstacles. This is an important life skill, as well as something that will help them in their journey at La Petite Baleen.