Feelings: The Difference between Success and Failure

What difference do feelings make when you’re teaching your kids to swim? After all, they’re just feelings. It turns out they make all the difference. Here’s why.

The Difference between Success and Failure in a Swimming Lesson

Knowing the impact of kids’ feelings and perspectives on success and failure can make the difference between your success and failure when you’re teaching them to swim.

Feelings matter

Kids learn best when they feel safe and supported, physically and emotionally.

  • Tension in your child’s body makes it harder to learn a physical skill.
  • Emotional tension makes it harder to retain and process information.

What You Can Do

If you feel relaxed and confident and you’re having fun, it will be easier for your child to feel relaxed and confident and have fun. Create an atmosphere of fun, freedom, and exploration to help your child feel secure enough to learn.

Feeling Successful

According to a recent study of eight- to thirteen-year-old kids, kids’ opinions of what makes a good swimmer have everything to do with effort: if you’re doing your best—trying hard and practicing—you’re good. Kids care about the process more than the outcome. Defining success based on the process instead of outcome will help kids to remain engaged and feel successful. Feeling successful will make them want to keep trying.

What You Can Do

Emphasize the importance of practice for improvement. That fits how kids think about things and gives them control over their own success.