29 May 2023
Before looking at the age that kids want to wear swimming goggles, let’s first explore what goggles are and why they might use them.
Swim goggles (for those who don’t already know) are a type of glasses made of plastic, rubber, and silicone materials explicitly designed to be worn during swimming. They prevent the water from contacting your eyes directly, enabling clearer underwater vision.
Watertight seals on the rims stop water from getting in, and a wide rubber band reaches around your head to hold the goggles in place while you swim.
We wear swimming goggles for lots of reasons.
● To protect sensitive eyes from chemicals and contaminants
● To give clearer vision when underwater
● To provide prescription lenses for shortsighted swimmers
● To help some children overcome their fear of water, particularly those who have had minimal contact with swimming until they are much older
The consensus from the swimming experts, including Swim England, is that children shouldn’t even be introduced to goggles until they are 2-3 years old (except in exceptional cases, such as a medical need).
Surprised? Don’t be.
There is sound educational reasoning behind this advice; namely, the most important part of your children’s swimming lessons is building up their safety and water confidence.
Most swimming instructors agree that developing water confidence and learning to swim cannot be rushed but takes time and nurturing. To be entirely confident in the water, children should be completely happy in the water without goggles first and then with.
Introducing goggles too soon often results in a child becoming over-dependent on them and subsequently losing confidence if they have to swim without them.
We are always learning, whatever our age or level; therefore, developed water confidence will naturally be individual to every child. Some children will take to swimming immediately and submerge themselves without a second thought; others will be anxious in this strange new environment and take a little more persuasion to enjoy the splashing, games, and competitions that are part of the swimming fun.
Once you or your children’s swimming instructor have introduced swimming goggles, this likely is when children will begin to ask to wear them.
However, for the sake of water safety, it’s still essential for your children to spend time in the water without goggles to maintain their confidence. After all, we never know when we might find ourselves in a situation where swimming without goggles is necessary to save our life!
Make it fun! One game used by swimming instructors encourages children to dive to the bottom of a pool to retrieve their goggles; another is Piggy in the Middle with a pair of goggles instead of a ball.
So to conclude, there is no set age at which kids start to want to wear goggles. It depends very much on their early experiences of water, their friends and peers, their natural ability, their instructors, and so much more, all of which are very individual to your child.
Don’t rush it. Take your time, and you might find you have the next World Champion in your midst!