Too busy for a ‘Thumbs Up?’


My 5-year-old son attends swimming lessons each and every Sunday. It’s a busy pool with multiple classes going on at once.


During lessons parents sit around the pool and watch their offspring splash around, offering words of encouragement, the occasional ‘thumbs up’ and many smiles of pride.


You can picture it can’t you? It was pretty much the same as when we learnt to swim… way back when.


However if you’ve actually taken a child to swimming lessons recently you’d know that the picture I’ve painted is actually a fake.


In my experience, parents aren’t offering words of encouragement, thumbs up or even smiles. They’re staring at a screen reading banal Facebook updates, answering ‘important’ emails that simply couldn’t wait until Monday or just surfing mindlessly.


I wonder why?


Have we really convinced ourselves that we are that busy that we can’t devote 30mins of our attention to our kids? Heck even 15mins would be good!


How many of these parents have to lie when their kids ask them, “Did you see me?”


How many of these kids finish a lap to look for a thumbs up, only to find their parents’ thumbs otherwise engaged?


I know this might seem like a trivial matter, but I wonder if it’s just the tip of a much larger iceberg?


I’d be interested to hear what you think… am I worrying about nothing?


Author: Dan Haesler is a teacher, consultant and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars. His website is: and he tweets at @danhaesler