Swimming teacher tells parents, ‘You’re making your children sad by looking at your phones’

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  • A swimming teacher has pleaded with parents to stop using their phones during lessons after becoming frustrated that their lack of enthusiasm is affecting the kids.

    Cat Owens, an instructor from Queensland, Australia, expressed her sadness in an impassioned blog post after tiring of seeing parents so absorbed in their phones while their children are learning to swim for the first time.

    ‘You need to put your phone down and watch your child’s swimming lesson,’ she wrote. ‘It makes the kids sad. They’re trying to make their parents proud of them.

    ‘You could walk into any learn-to-swim environment, and I bet you will see a row of parents sitting on their phones… completely missing out on the effort that their children are putting in to this lesson.’

    But it isn’t just Cat who is heartbroken at seeing the children feel dejected, as she explained how one colleague ‘almost cried’ after a child was ignored by his dad during a lesson.

    She said: ‘A little boy swam the length of the pool, looked up at his dad for praise, and said, “Why won’t Daddy watch me? He’s always playing on his phone”.

    ‘This particular boy had put in so much effort. He had listened well to the teacher, he had tried his hardest, and he just wanted his dad to be proud of him.’

    While Cat understands that sometimes it is ‘unavoidable’ for a caregiver to ignore their phone as they may need to check work emails or book an important appointment, she claimed that more often than not, they’re actually on Facebook or online shopping.

    Cat revealed that the swimming school even called a meeting to see how they could tackle the problem, with suggestions ranging from posters telling parents to watch, free Wi-Fi with the password ‘please get off your phone and watch me swim’, and even banning phones altogether.

    ‘I don’t think they realise that the kids look up at them that often. Sometimes the parents don’t even realise that the kids are calling out to them,’ Cat added.

    ‘Please just try it. You will be amazed how much you get out of it, and I’ll bet you your child will work their absolute hardest.’

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