One of my greatest joys in my life is teaching kids how to snorkel. Seeing the sense of accomplishment in their faces the moment they understand and are able to apply this knowledge is very rewarding. I do admit that the first time that I was approached by friends to teach their child, I was very hesitant. Many thoughts went through my head. The first was how to get them and keep them interested. Knowing the child did help a bit but did not lessen the concerns that I had. The child that I taught had an average attention span for a five going on six year old which ranged anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds and was quite easily distracted.
The parents were both snorkelers and enjoyed it so much that they wanted to share their love for the sport with their child. While this is commendable, they soon found personally trying to teach their child was more challenging than they originally thought. I actually think "impossible" was their original description when they talked to me. I asked them to bring me the snorkeling equipment that they were using and found that it was purchased from a big box store that happened to have a couple of sets in their toy department. It was then that I realized that the child was not the only one that I had to educate.
Having the right tools is the biggest part of teaching a child anything and anything less is short changing them. I knew that the parents had the right gear for themselves because I was the one that helped them pick it out. I asked them why they had bought the perfect gear for themselves and didn't hesitate in buying substandard gear for their child. I reminded them of the importance of comfort and fit and they hung their head in shame. At this point I should note that these were very good friends so I could talk to them like I did.
Parents want to share the fun but investing in quality snorkeling gear for kids can be daunting if shortly thereafter they find that their child is not interested. There is also the realization that they may soon outgrow the equipment. While these concerns are justified, comfort and fit are still the main priority in any snorkeling equipment. If the gear that the child is using doesn't work for them then how the heck are they going to enjoy the sport.
The parents came to our store the next day along with their child and we picked out the gear that fit and was comfortable. The child’s input into the decision making process was mainly colors and how cool it looked rather than the features and benefits but including them did give them a sense of pride. Before walking out with the gear, I made the child raise their right hand and repeat after me.
We know how most promises like this are often forgotten but it did make a great way for the parents to remind the child when they strayed from their promises. The fact that the child was now equipped with the proper equipment also made my task of teaching them so much easier.
Not everyone is lucky enough to live near a store that carries quality kids snorkeling equipment which is why our online store strives to give as much information as possible about the kids gear that we carry in stock. We like to think that it is the next best thing to actually being at our store.