Thursday, February 17, 2011

Kicking and Screaming

Hello, my name is Teacher Shannon and I have been working at our Half Moon Bay location for almost 15 years now, observing and swimming with many children. I have enjoyed every second of it and love to watch how children evolve over time in their experiences at our school. One of my favorite things to do is to help a fearful child learn to love the water. In doing this, there is always that fine line of knowing how much to push and when to hold them and give them that loving hug. I learned from Irene that children are a "different kid" each day as they are growing and navigating through their childhood. With this, I have also learned that parents do know their kid best.

My husband and I have one daughter, Ellie, who will be 13 years old at the end of this month. Ellie has been involved in after school sports and has been out of the pool for almost a year. We had a deal that once basketball season ended, she would head back to the pool and join the swim team again. Irene says, "They are a different kid each day", and I learned that it still applies to 12 year olds. When the day came for Ellie to head back to the outdoor pool in the middle of January (I am not that mean, the pool is heated), she was a different kid! She did not want to go and had every excuse in the book.

I asked the people in my life that love to swim for their opinions. I got all sorts of answers from "Don't push her" to "Make her do it"! I had to sit and think about my next step...Do I make her do it because as a teacher and a mom, I know all the health benefits of swimming? I know that the year she swam year-round she never caught pneumonia, which was usually a yearly illness of her's, (Ellie was born premature and her pediatrician has always recommended swimming to strengthen her lungs).

Well, I had to sit and take my own advice, "You know her best". Anytime Ellie wants to start something new, she can be slow to warm up or have fears until she actually does it. As a parent, knowing where that fine line is from pushing too hard and challenging your children to do things that they are not wanting to do, can be hard to see. I had flashes of my husband and I "making" her go down the water slide, kicking and screaming, only to have her come up with a huge smile asking to do it again. Or the time we "made" her get on Tower of Terror in Disneyland, scared out of her whits, and afterward we had to ride it six times in a row, she loved it so much!

So, as you can guess, although Ellie didn't want to go to swim team practice, the girl that got out of the car not wanting to go, was the happy kid swimming a beautiful freestyle ten minutes later. I know my child...but she can be a different kid every day .

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