If you’ve been “beached” for several years and unable to dive because your kids were too young, you may be especially motivated to get them certified so you can dive again too!
You’ve also enjoyed the unparalleled and fascinating sights and sensations scuba diving has to offer. So of course it’s natural to want to share that experience and introduce the kids in your life to this spectacular, lifelong sport.
Diving with kids can be especially rewarding since you are seeing things from their perspective and sharing in their natural curiosity.
However, before you rush out to sign your kiddo up for scuba classes, there are several things to consider first:
- Age & Maturity: PADI, NAUI and other certification programs offer junior diver courses for kids 10 and older. Not all 10- or even 12-year-olds have the maturity to complete the academic and physical requirements of a scuba course, so consider your child’s maturity level first.
- Interest: Is your child interested in learning to dive or are you interested in your child learning to dive? Children learn most effectively when they are internally motivated to do something, not because they are pressured or expected to.
- Physical Fitness: Does your kiddo have the physical stamina and swimming skills necessary for scuba diving?
- Attention Span / Comfort: Does your child pay attention in school and have good study habits? Is he or she able to speak up in front of peers if they missed something or are uncomfortable?
Even if you had to answer “No” to the questions above, or your child isn’t yet old enough for a class, there are some steps you can take to spark kids’ interest in learning to dive.
8 Tips to Introduce Kids to Diving:
- Buy them decent snorkeling gear from a dive shop — masks and snorkels that fit well go a long way to making kids feel comfortable breathing with their face in the water for the first time. You can wait a bit for fins if they’re just getting started.
- Take them snorkeling in a pool or a shallow, clear lake. Toss coins or other things into the water and let them “find” them. Make it a game or a contest to see who can find the most.
- Get them into the ocean as often as you can so they get used to the taste and sensation of salt water as early as possible.
- Once they are comfortable wearing snorkel gear, take them snorkeling somewhere awesome, where they’ll see some amazing sea life. A good option is take them on a combined snorkel / dive tour where they can see the divers getting ready, as well as watch them from above while floating on the surface.
- Watch underwater educational videos together and talk about what you see. If you have an underwater camera, let them take videos while snorkeling, and then let them show the videos to their friends. Peer envy / enthusiasm can be a big motivator!
- Visit aquariums either in your home town or when traveling so they can see the spectacular underwater scenery and sea life. Some aquariums offer kid programs, so if yours does, sign them up.
- Kids are naturally going to have questions, especially about possible dangers such as sharks. Avoid downplaying their concerns. Instead, acknowledge the dangers and discuss why you’re comfortable with scuba diving’s potential risks.
- Remember to be patient and don’t push them beyond their comfort level. Again, children learn best when they want to learn. Instead of saying, “Come on, I know you’ll like if you just try it,” give them an opportunity to express why they are hesitating.
Before your know it, you’ll kids will be clamoring to go diving and you’ll enjoy a lifetime of diving together!
At Scuba Toys, we carry gear of all sizes, including kids’ gear.
Call us at 877-728-2243, shop online on our website or stop in and we can help get the kids in your life set up with proper-fitting, comfortable gear!
Have you enrolled your kids in scuba classes? Let us know how it went in the comments below!
How to Introduce Kids to Scuba Diving
Diving with kids can be a lot of fun, but teaching kids to dive is a bit different than adults. Follow these tips to make things go smoothly for them and you.