You know that uneasy feeling you get in your stomach before a big meeting, a job interview or presenting to a group of people you don’t know? Butterflies we call them. Well my children feel it too, sometimes before pre-school (especially after school holidays or after an awesome weekend) and in this case before swimming lessons. Frankly I don’t always feel like having a debrief with my kids about uneasy feelings, especially when I am eating toast ends and brushing my teeth all at the same time. Or when I am in the middle of making lunches, cleaning up wee or looking for my skin coloured bra to wear for work! I know what I feel like saying;
“You’ll be right.”
“Let’s go, let’s go, we don’t have time for this now.”
“Come on, it’s not that bad.”
“You are a great swimmer. You can do it.”
So thankfully I came across a documentary on French ballet dances. They also felt nervous, before training, a performance or learning a difficult move. One of the teachers explained that nerves are normal and gave an idea on how you can talk to your nerves. I combined this with my research on emotional intelligence and thought yes, I can give this a go. Now when my children look a bit anxious about an approaching event (or an everyday situation like pre-school) I acknowledge their feelings, tell them a story about a time when I was nervous and give them an idea on how to talk to their nerves. It doesn’t always snap their nervous mood, but it does seem to calm them which means they hear the message better; that life isn’t always about doing the fun and easy stuff – we have to do the hard stuff as well.