Some parents ask about the use of flotation aids to encourage their children to swim independently. Many times we see these items on sale, and it seems an easy way out to let children enjoy swimming on their own. But do they actually inhibit the learning process?
Well, the answer is both yes and no. Overuse of flotation aids may give a false sense of security to children. Without the aids, children may feel insecure, and hence have no confidence in swimming on their own. For example, putting on goggles is not a foremost requisite to learn to swim. You do not need goggles in order to swim. This is why in baby, toddler and children swimming lessons, children are first introduced to water familiarization without goggles. This is to get them to be comfortable and confident in the water.
Imagine that one day, the child was to fall into a water body and is unable to swim to safety because of the absence of googles. That would be a tragedy! Until the children are able to show that they are water confident and non-reliant on googles, do we introduce goggles to them.
There are many times I came across children who use flotation aids and try to move around in the water. Don’t misunderstand me, there’s nothing wrong to that! However without proper instruction and guidance, a child will devise methods to stabilise and propel himself in water. One of the methods is to spread the legs apart to stabilise himself. As the child has no awareness of engaging his core muscles to stabilise himself and kick, the kid uses the wrong muscles to stabilise himself which in this case is to spread the legs apart to cover a broader area. This inadvertently inhibits the child to learn to swim eventually because the old habit has to be eradicated to learn the correct way to stabilise and kick.
The child may wear a floating vest if he had no core control, the child can go in two directions, either face up facing the sky or face down in the water. The latter will be a tragedy. The child is floating but in a wrong way. Because the child has no control of the core muscles, he will still be struggling to stay upright. Hence, adult supervision is still mandatory.
Flotation aids are not the same as teaching aids though. MoovSwim uses a variety of teaching aids in our lessons. You can read more here!