Once children have been through the water familiarisation process, are happy playing and swimming underwater, and spend a lot of time doing so, you can introduce goggles. Goggles are very useful to help protect the children’s eyes against prolonged chlorine exposure and ph imbalances. You will notice that some children will have more sensitive eyes than others. Evie at just 18 months spends so much time underwater that her eyes get sore during the half hour swimming lesson and therefore she needs goggles to continue with the swimming activities.
Introducing goggles at a young age can be difficult. Some children will be initially unaccepting of goggles and it may take a few weeks before they will wear them. Start by playing with googles outside of the formal swimming lesson so you don’t waste time during the class. Begin by letting the child hold and play with the goggles outside of the water environment. Use parental demonstrations and show the child what it looks like to wear goggles. Have the child put the goggles on a favourite doll or toy. Practice with goggles at home in the bath. Don’t rush the child to use goggles if they aren’t comfortable. Come up with above water activities to break up underwater work.
Be gentle as you put the goggles on your child and if you are unsure ask the child’s swimming teacher. Be patient, during the early stages the child will want to take the goggles on and off. But remember this may become disruptive to the swimming lesson so make sure that when the child is old enough you show them how to independently manage their own goggles. Some swimming teachers will have rules around goggles. Eg children have to take them off during certain parts of the swimming lesson or if the child continues to play with their goggles they may confiscate them for part of the lesson.
Swimming without goggles is an important part of water safety. Children need to be confident going underwater with goggles. For this reason we always recommend removing the goggles during part of each swimming lesson. Remember children who were once perfectly happy going underwater without goggles can become very reliant on them. Make sure that children are given regular exposure to time without goggles. Teaching children to dive and collect their goggles off the bottom of the pool is a great skill to incorporate into the swimming and water safety lesson.
We would love to hear your swimming success stories as the result of hard work and persistence. Please share in the comments section below.