Undoubtedly the most important first step in the journey to swimming confidently, going underwater is however a very real fear a lot of children face.
Submerging the face underwater for the first time feels instinctively unnatural and you cannot use your usual, instinctive, breathing techniques. How then do you help your little ones overcome this and get them on their way to being confident swimmers? Here are some tips!
- During bath and water play times, pour water gently over your child’s head to get them used to the sensation of water on their face. Make it a fun experience for them so they will want to do it more often!
- Teach them to blink their eyes to get rid of the water instead of rubbing their eyes. Why? That’s because when your child is in chlorinated or salt water, rubbing their eyes may irritate it more, so blinking to clear the eyes is actually the better habit to learn from the start.
- Practice WITH your little ones in small steps. Eg. Mouth first - blow bubbles underwater. Nose next - short breath-holding or blowing out underwater, etc. You get the idea.
- Never force or pressure your child to submerge their head under water. It will exacerbate their fear. Model how to do it and they will too in their own time. As parents, we understand how excruciatingly long it may take for some children to overcome this fear, but they will get there with consistent help and encouragement.
- Do not show fear of getting your own face or their face wet or submerged, as they pick up your uneasiness very very easily.
- When they are ready, play games underwater - blowing bubbles, counting fingers, etc to encourage them to submerge their heads more confidently.
✨You got this!!✨