Not passing your level in swim lessons is not a failure nor is it really a defeat. Most of our levels take an average of 2-3 sessions to pass. However, at the end of the session if your child has not passed their level, this is a great teachable moment. (Parenting would be so easy wouldn’t it if we were not trying to teach them positive qualities every moment we can!)
Whatever age your child is, now is a good time to teach them how to handle challenges, disappointments, and perseverance. Now, when the stakes are low, is a good time to teach them these skills because that is exactly what they are – skills. Providing our children with teachable moments allows them to grow and acquire the skills they will need as they progress into their teen and young adult lives. (I know that seems like a long way off but trust me, it’s here before you know it!)
When your child gets upset because this is the second time they have taken level 3 and they still have not passed, do you get upset too, or do you take the time to teach them a valuable life skill? Do you let them know that sometimes we do not always get what we want. Sometimes what we want takes hard work. If you really want something bad enough, you have to keep trying. Chances are your child might not get straight A’s or make every sport team they try out for, or get into the college of their first choice. Will this destroy their psyche or will they come back fighting? That depends on what you teach them now. Point out to your child all of the great things they are doing, or in the case of swim lessons, all of the skills they have mastered. Reinforce the hard work they have done and how far they have come and then let them know they just have to keep on trying. Set the goal and persevere. I am not saying that you shouldn’t acknowledge their disappointment. What I am saying is to teach them resilience. Provide them with the teachable moments that allow them to practice overcoming challenges and defeat so that they can handle the bigger setbacks in life later on. This is one of the best gifts you can give your child – the ability to handle the curves that life throws at them with grace and determination.