Why don’t children like or want to put their faces in water?
The main reasons are as follows:
• The unknown. How it will feel? "I have never done this before"
• Sensation. Water going into their eyes, ears or up their nose.
• Associations with negative previous experiences. Shampoo in eyes when washing their hair. A fall in or slip in a body of water that gave them a fright.
• Be aware of what are you saying about water and swimming next to your children as they will use the same words to you later.
How can we help them to be happy and comfortable with putting their faces under water?
1. Don’t lie. Don’t tell them that it feels nice, for most people it isn’t and is more likely to feel very strange.
2. Prepare them for what to expect. You can tell them that when the water goes into your eyes it might sting or feel weird, but that’s ok it won’t harm you, you just need to “blink blink blink” and all the water will disappear from your eyes. This can take a good few tries so be consistent and don’t give up after the first few attempts
3. Do it together. If you can do together, together it’s always easier. Lead by example We can help mommies and daddies if they are uncomfortable putting their faces in the water too!
4. Be calm and confirm. When they try - encourage them immediately to ‘blink blink blink’ after water gets in their eyes, and use a calm, cheerful tone and don’t panic! Confirm their experience with phrases like “see, it’s all gone”.
5. Their vision will be blurry if they open their eyes under water. You can ask them if they opened their eyes? What did they see? You can confirm that yes it’s a bit blurry, but you can still see the colours and shapes.
It’s ok if they put their faces in the water with their eyes closed in beginning. They can get used to the sensations first, and then progress to opening their eyes under the water.
6. Praise and celebrate! Be specific with your praise instead of “well done” or “good girl/boy”. Get excited about their achievements: tell them what you liked in particular or point out how they have improved.
7. Be consistent: if it didn’t go as well as you would have liked, don’t give up. Stay consistent and you will get the results. The more you do it the more familiar kids get with these sensations and eventually they become comfortable with it.
8. Bring them to swim teaching experts and local swimming lessons: we are always there to support, guide and help you to achieve your swimming goals.
Best of luck and let us know how you get on in the comments section below :)