Things that give our toddlers more confidence in the water

Australia is girt by sea and chances are most of the time you will be somewhere near the water, especially if you have kids! No holiday is made unless there is swimming, snorkelling, surfing or just splashing around in the rock pools.

Our kids have gone from happily splashing in the shallows to now wanting to be in the deeper water with us and exploring the world beneath. Our kids are currently 3 and 4 years old and still aren’t fully able to swim yet. Over the years of travelling on the road, we have tried and tested many products available in order to increase their confidence in the water. Here are our favourites:

Inflatable armbands

Floaties are great, especially for infants to toddler age. These are only aids, but they help kids learn to kick their legs for swimming. They gain confidence to bob along on the water independently instead of clinging desperately to you.

Life jackets

These were the next step up from the inflatable arm floaties. We used the little inflatable vests available at most department stores. We used those in tandem with floaties at the beginning, then we eliminated the floaties as they gained confidence.

Gear to improve water confidence in kids

Wet suits

These are excellent, especially when touring the bottom, cooler end of Australia. Wetsuits help keep the little ones warmer for longer, allowing us to swim and snorkel for longer everywhere from Tasmania to the tropics. They also provide great coverage from the harsh Aussie sun.   You can get varying thicknesses, with the thicker ones being more buoyant. We opt for the 2 or 3 mm versions as they are readily available and can be used comfortably in warmer weather.


Full face snorkel masks

These are a recent addition to our kit and the boys have taken to it like a duck to water! It really surprised us how willing they were to put their head under water to have a look what’s down there. It has literally opened a whole new world to them. Now they get to explore the reefs right along side us and they love it just as much as we do. These type of masks also allows them to talk, so it’s easier to communicate when out snorkelling.