Setting Limits with Candy and Care

girl swimming boardMy husband, daughter, and I were on our way out the door to go to my daughter’s little tot swimming class. My husband had given my daughter a few pieces of candy in the house before we left. While we were getting in the car, she said she wanted more candy.

I set the limit and told her that while I understood that she wanted candy, we weren’t going to have candy right now, because she had had enough and it was time to go to swimming class. That led to a big big cry. I leaned down in the back seat with her, in front of her car seat. She negotiated, wanting just a few more pieces of candy, but I held the limit. She cried some more, and it became clear that her crying was not because she wanted candy. Then she said she didn’t want to dunk her head in the water at swimming class or walk on the mat kids walk across in swim class. I just listened and stayed with her.

All the while, I was worried that we were going to miss our 30 minute swim class, but tried to remind myself that this was more important and that swim class would be disastrous anyway if she didn’t get the chance to clear out her system. I could feel myself fighting against my inclination to watch the clock.  After about 10 minutes, she brightened up, and said she was ready to go. We went to class, only missed a few minutes of it, and she ended up dunking her head 5 times. She was so proud of herself!

-Kirsten Jensen, Certified Instructor

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