Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Should Children Wear Goggles When Learning to Swim

I don't like goggles for first time swimmers!

Many parents will send there first time swimmer children into the pool with goggles. I'm not sure why.

Perhaps they feel that the children will put their face in the water more easily. Maybe they are concerned about the chlorinated water in the child's eyes or they may just think that you need to were goggles to look like a real swimmer.

The problem with first time swimmers wearing goggles is that they can become dependent on them. I have had children come to me to learn to swim that were fine as long as they had there goggles on, but would freak out should anybody try to remove them.

Now I'm not saying that a child should never wear goggles when they are first learning to swim. I am saying that it is necessary for a child to learn to swim without them. If they are unable to swim without goggles how are they safe in the water?

The idea in teaching a child to swim is first and foremost so they will be safe in the water. Yes we want them to enjoy the water but unless they are safe and feel safe they cannot possibly enjoy the water.



Feeling safe is very important and if a child feels unsafe in the water without goggles, there is no way to truly help them be safe in the water.

You need to be confident in the water to swim and you can't be confident without feeling safe.

A child who is dependent on goggles will freak out should anything happen to those goggles whilst they are in the water. Freaking out leads to panic and anybody who has worked with a panicked child will tell you they are not rational and are not safe in the water.

A child's first experience of putting their face under water should, if at all possible be without goggles. I say "if at all possible", because I have had children that the only way I could persuade them to put their face in the water at all, was to let them have goggles on.

This then means that I had to wean them off goggles until they were confident in the water without them, thus increasing the amount of time needed to get them confident in the water.

Once they are confident in the water, then I encourage them to wear goggles as they learn to swim.

Enjoy
   Richard

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