Everyone benefits from a healthy level of self-esteem, the broad sense of one's value and worth. Confidence-building experiences are the building blocks of high self-esteem, which has been linked to resilience and good mental health. Research by psychologists at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Bern, showed that “people with high self-esteem generally have more success at school and work, better social relationships, improved mental and physical health, and less anti-social behavior. And, these benefits persist from adolescence to adulthood and into old age.”
Cultivating and maintaining self-esteem isn’t easy, especially for kids. Many factors can chip away at self-confidence, lowering self-esteem. In our culture children experience ever-increasing pressure to perform well in school, sports and extra-curricular activities. Additionally, exposure to social media can undermine parents’ best efforts to build confidence in their kids. Social media can promote unrealistic physique, beauty and wealth standards, and lead kids to compare themselves to others in unhealthy ways. In everyday life parents can actively help develop their kids' self-confidence and build self-esteem. In the sidebar of this post, see five proven ways that work. Starting to lay this foundation early in a child's life paves the road to withstand challenges during adolescent and teen years.
Another tool to help a child develop self-confidence is by giving them the fun and screen-free activity of swim lessons. Learning to swim requires work, perseverance, and focus. Children will certainly experience failure while learning to swim, and the process of trying again, practicing and eventually succeeding builds resilience and belief in their abilities. Because swimming requires the progressive achievement and refinement of many different skills, kids will have lots of opportunities to practice failure and perseverance over time as they grow and mature. Amazingly, this study from Griffith University in Australia showed that children who participated in swim lessons also demonstrated more advanced cognitive and physical abilities as compared to non-swim lesson children.
Our SaferSoonerTM Method Builds Confidence Fast Our SaferSoonerTM method builds skill competence more quickly than other swim schools, giving earlier and more frequent boosts to confidence. First we guide each student to develop the survival skills that match a student's personal preference or natural ability. If a student is afraid to put his face in the water, we don't force it. Instead, we focus on back float first. The success from this personalized approach raises their confidence, motivates them to keep learning, and makes them safer sooner.
By finding a path for a student to experience early success, our teachers not only build confidence, they avoid frustration. A frustrated student is less engaged and participates less, making progress more difficult.
Once students achieve survival skills, we keep building personalized swim progressions suited to their natural abilities. Their achievements begin to stack up, and provide continuous jolts of confidence-building moments. As their learn-to-swim journey progresses with stroke development and advanced self-rescue skills, we build water confidence into the adolescent and teen years, in sync with their physical and cognitive development. It's important to keep providing swim instruction until a child is approximately 14, or risk skill regression and loss of confidence.
Having a solid base of swimming skills then leads to other stress-relieving, screen-free aquatic activities that give a child more opportunities to build self-confidence through the process of failure and success. Many of these activities are exhilarating and exciting: swimming in oceans or lakes, tubing, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, waterparks, surfing, scuba diving, fishing and of course, competitive racing.
Though learning to swim is a tool parents can employ than can help children build self confidence, its most important aspect is that swim competency skills can save their life, or the life of another. LifeCycle Swim school is dedicated to bringing the mental and physical benefits of swimming to everyone.
Model good self-esteem. Kids listen and watch how parents talk and behave. If kids notice that a parent doesn’t stand up for themself, or that they are unkind to themself when they make mistakes (“I’m so dumb for forgetting my appointment!”), it’s likely they will adopt those behaviors. Treat yourself the way you want your kids to treat themselves.
Encourage new skills and interests. Discovering their own passions is an important part of developing a sense of identity. Learning new skills gives kids a chance to be creative, set goals, and solve problems, all of which help build confidence.
Frame failure as growth. Activities that allow kids to make mistakes and fail help build self-esteem. Learning how to push past failure, integrate feedback, and try again is an essential life skill. Make sure kids understand that failure shouldn’t be taken personally. Failure happens to everyone, and it doesn’t reflect poorly on a person’s talents, abilities, or intelligence.
Celebrate effort. When praising kids, parents often focus on the outcome instead of the process. They say, “You got an A!,” instead of “You studied really hard.” Remember to acknowledge the work and perseverance that went into an achievement. Paying too much attention to results can lead kids to think that only the achievement matters.
Give kids independence. While it’s tempting to protect children from difficulties, it’s important to let kids deal with their own problems. Choose age-appropriate problems to let kids solve on their own, allowing them to develop self-sufficiency and self-reliance.
Copyright 2016-2019 Lifecycle Aquatics, LLC. All rights reserved. Content on this site is for informational or educational use, and should not be construed as medical or insurance advice. Lifecycle Aquatics, LLC provides general information about swimming and water safety.