How to make a smooth transition from Parent to Teacher.
If a child has a choice they will always choose a parent over an instructor. Encourage the parent to not enter the water and possibly not even come on the deck. The more support the parent gives the more they will have to take away eventually.
Use the help of deck assistants and deck supervisors. Even if the child does not do any skills and just stands on the dock this is an accomplishment!! Praise every good behavior. The deck assistants and supervisors can help with the parents as well, assuring them that their child is in good hands and that any behavior they exhibit is normal and has been seen before.
Challenging behavior and Crying.
Distraction: a new toy, a new game. Giving them a choice: YES they have to do a back float but they can choose what kind of pancake for the song. Letting them make a decision makes them feel more in control and can help calm and distract them from crying.
Ignoring/not calling attention to it. Sometimes you just have to let them tire themselves out. As long as they are being safe and not endangering other students keep the class going making sure that you are including all the students.
Positive reinforcement. High fives, smiles and “Good Job!” can go a long way in a 2 years old world.
Bribery (coins, ribbons, etc…).
Disciplining with natural consequences.
Letting students fall off wall/dock. Let them fall, and then place them back where they began. Even if it is accidental put them back on the wall/dock and make sure they complete the task (even if it’s with your assistance), try not to call too much attention to it. Reassure them that they are ok and reiterate why it’s important to listen and hold onto the wall or stay on the dock.
Positioning and Safety Skills.
Positioning “inside the box” vs. “outside the box”