Time is always passing. It isn’t something you can rewind or change. The moment a couple receives a child—whether through adoption or conception—one thing becomes clear: time with your child is an investment. A close connection with someone whom you have parental responsibility over is necessary, not only because it is the custom but more so because the family is designed for a loving relationship.
It is unfortunate how “kid-friendly” TV shows and movies of this era often portray a dysfunctional family. For instance, siblings are always bullying each other; parents (and other adults) are always fooled by little children; and friends are always the safe haven of many pre-teen protagonists. Sadly, young viewers may be too naïve to distinguish reality from fantasy, and thereby mimic what they see on TV. The challenge for parents today, therefore, is to correct such thinking. Most importantly, parents need to invest in their relationship with their children to ensure that their sons and daughters are secure in the love they see and receive at home.
Why swimming is a good bonding activity for families:
First: Swimming is one of the most common recreational activities.
This means that it is not hard to find a pool to actually enjoy swimming. In fact, many Filipinos consider swimming pools as something that hotels, resorts, and condominiums ought to have by default (with the exception of budget establishments). Residential villages also have common swimming pools, while those who don’t have a nearby pool tend to commute to the nearest sports club. Indeed, swimming is a very popular activity and it is one that fathers, mothers, and children can access any time of the year without much worry. In other words, it’s a simple and hassle-free way to invest time with each other wherever you are.
Note: Lack of swimming pools in an area is made up for by the abundance of beaches in the Philippines!
Second: Swimming can be enjoyed by both young and old, and by both swimmers and non-swimmers.
Did you know that swimming is a low impact exercise that’s easy on the joints and muscles? That’s the reason why even grandparents can join the fun! On the other hand, parents and young adults add to the safety factor of swimming as a family: they can both supervise younger children and give warning to the overexcited pre-teens and teenagers! As for toddlers, even they can splash around the pool! In this case, parents play a crucial role in helping toddlers feel comfortable in the water. With the correct swimming apparatus and appropriate parental guidance, toddlers are sure to make Instagram-worthy chuckles of laughter.
In addition to this, many establishments and brands have made swimming enjoyable for both swimmers and non-swimmers. Often times you will find shallow kiddie pools next to lap pools. Floaters have even evolved from the traditional doughnut-shape to actually being designed as a doughnut, or a slice of pizza, or a hot pink flamingo, or a rainbow-colored unicorn! Amidst this, professional swimming gear continues to innovate and aid swimmers in their passion for training and competing. All in all, swimming brings the whole family together; plus, its continued innovation in terms of swimming gear and pool apparatus like pizza-shaped floaters add to the fun!
Lastly: Swimming bonding paves way to conversations.
Aside from the play-fights and teasing that happen in the pool, the relaxed environment prepares opportunities for family members to engage in personal conversations amongst each other. Indeed, enjoying each other’s company is a strong motivation to trust a sibling, parent, or child with a personal story (ie. an update on school work, a relationship problem, a small victory). Furthermore, swimming usually eats up so much energy from a person’s body that it causes it to be very, very hungry. The meal that happens right after swimming is an opportunity for everyone to actually be in one space and see each other—this may sound menial but it is actually pretty crucial since regular workdays tend to keep everyone busy from minding each other. One’s physical presence is the first step to conversing, right? Truly, such opportunities should not be missed.
Training up a child and correcting his or her way of thinking requires physical presence, trust, and communication. All these things can be achieved by making time to bond as a family. One way to do this is to set aside days to swim with the whole family and use it as an opportunity to remind them of your love and values. Always remember that family time is an investment rather than an expense. It is wiser to grow the loving relationship at home through regular family bonding than to save all your resources for things that keep you from telling your child “I love you” without fear nor hesitation.