Getting the kids snorkelling with you is one way to enjoy the beach with family. After all, letting them experience marine life up close is way better than reading them in books.
But how do we teach kids to snorkel, and when is the best time to start? Well, you can start with this list of snorkelling tips. A little warning, though. It doesn’t include how to make them stop loving the water!
Get Them Comfortable in the Water
Do your kids feel confident while swimming? Are they okay getting their heads underwater? If so, then you can proceed with your snorkelling tutorial. Just make sure that you’re familiar with the sport yourself before teaching the kids snorkelling.
Also, keep in mind that the water comfort level varies from child to child. Kids who have been taking swimming lessons before, for example, will naturally enjoy the water and may have an easier time grasping snorkelling basics.
For children still trying to get used to being in the water, have them wear flotation devices. A life jacket, tube or pair of armbands should keep them calm and relaxed. You can even throw in swimming pool toys for fun!
Introduce Snorkelling Early with a Good Mask
No matter your child’s water skill level, it is best to start his training somewhere safe – in the bathtub! Teaching kids snorkelling in shallow water should help you keep things safe and under control, too.
Next, introduce the face mask, and show your kids how they should wear it. Ask them to get their hair wet first and brush stray strands away from their face.
Position the mask against their nose and eyes, then pull the rubber strap over their head once it’s secure. Now, ask them to inhale through their noses as if they are trying to smell flowers. If the mask sticks to their face, then it’s a good fit and seal.
Finally, let them dip their faces in the tub water with their masks on. When they’re ready to level things up, transfer your training session to the shallow end of your pool.
Practice Clearing the Mask and Using the Snorkel
Snorkelling is not complete without, well, a snorkel! So, after getting used to wearing a mask underwater, let your kids try using the snorkel next.
You don’t have to thread it through just yet. Just ask the kids to hold it as they dip their heads down underwater. You can also let them test the snorkel while out of the water, dipping their face underwater and swimming. Try doing these in stages.
If you have diving pool toys at home, try putting them at the bottom of the swimming pool. These should make a good distraction as they practice breathing through their mouth. You can make it into a blowing bubbles game, too.
When you’re teaching kids snorkelling, show them how to clear their masks as well. Ask them to blow their nose underwater to expel the water out of their face masks. Younger kids can do this by standing in a shallow area and dumping the water out.
Getting your children accustomed to snorkelling equipment should make them confident once they’re out in the open ocean. Familiarity is key!
Just make sure that you’re buying the correct snorkelling equipment for kids, though. Adult snorkel gear will only make them feel uncomfortable. You can also consult experts or the store personnel for advice.
Work on Their Kicks
Fins are also essential items of the snorkelling kit. However, younger kids may not like wearing them just yet. But that’s okay. Teaching them how to use the mask and snorkel is more important for now.
You can, however, train your children how to kick in the water properly. Ask them to lay on their back and do the flutter kick or kicking one leg at a time. Make sure they’re using their hips, not their knees. When ready, flip them onto their abdomen and continue doing kick sessions.
It won’t be as hard to get older kids snorkelling with fins. So, ask them to give it a shot. They’ll quickly realise how easier it is to navigate the pool and, eventually, the open sea with snorkel fins.
Look for the Perfect Training Spot
Are your kids now snorkelling-ready for the beach? Well, try to go somewhere with calm waters first, like a lake, lagoon or protected bay.
Any spot with little to no waves will do. It will be a good training ground for them before encountering actual marine life and small swells.
Make sure to pack their flotation equipment, too. That way, they can focus on practising their snorkelling skills rather than trying to keep themselves afloat.
Discuss Important Snorkelling Rules
Snorkelling etiquette is also something you should talk about with your children. Explain to them that they’ll be in the ocean with other snorkellers around. So, teach them to be mindful of others by watching where they’re going.
Always remind your kids of the “don’t touch, just look” rule when they see colourful fish or coral reef underwater. Let them know that you are only visiting the fishes’ home as guests.
It’s also best to introduce the buddy system to your children as they learn how to snorkel. It will keep them calm, especially during sudden currents. Plus, it can be your excuse not to let them go on their own!
Kidding aside, it’s always safer to stick together while in the ocean. It’s more fun for the kids to discover various types of fish with you on their side anyway. More importantly, the happy memories will help build their confidence, in or out of the water.