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Confidence in the Water



  • My 6 yo is still terrified to put his face in the water. Any tips or games we can use to gain some confidence?



  • Patience is key, have him in the water enough that he will eventually on is own try and put his face in, with your survallence of course. Have him be in the bathtub and encourage him to blow bubbles in the water. This is a much more relaxing enviromengt then a hectic puiblic pool with an instructor that isnt thier parent.



  • Yes bath time bubbles are great and spending time just playing in the baby pool. They will get there. I agree that swimming lessons begin about 4 but they sure can learn a lot before then! My son was swimming all over the place at 2-3 BUT he wasn't strong enough to keep his head up when he came up for a breath. Had to watch him like a hawk. Obviously this last sentence dates me as there weren't the ISR lessons back then. If I had an infant I would definitely find the self rescue lessons and do it right away.



  • Hi there! Here are some tips:

    Option one: use a water can, like for plants, or one of the play ones for kids. This is a great tool for beginners because it allows them to ease in to the process of putting their face in. Start with the child sitting on the wall, and start pouring the water on them, starting at the legs and working your way up to the top of the head so it trickles down on their face. As they become comfortable with that you can move them in to the water and still use the watering can to get their head wet, until they don't even notice that their face is in the water.

    Option two: This one sounds silly but I swear it works all the time. Place your hand, palm up, under the water. Don't go super deep, but go under the surface. Tell your little one to put their face in your hand, and/or to blow bubbles on to your hand. This allows them to have a target, which provides them comfort, as it is the unknown that is making them uneasy. As they get more comfortable you can lower you hand to deeper levels, and eventually remove it altogether!

    I hope this helps!

    Becca



  • Becca B said:

    Hi there! Here are some tips:

    Option one: use a water can, like for plants, or one of the play ones for kids. This is a great tool for beginners because it allows them to ease in to the process of putting their face in. Start with the child sitting on the wall, and start pouring the water on them, starting at the legs and working your way up to the top of the head so it trickles down on their face. As they become comfortable with that you can move them in to the water and still use the watering can to get their head wet, until they don't even notice that their face is in the water.

    Option two: This one sounds silly but I swear it works all the time. Place your hand, palm up, under the water. Don't go super deep, but go under the surface. Tell your little one to put their face in your hand, and/or to blow bubbles on to your hand. This allows them to have a target, which provides them comfort, as it is the unknown that is making them uneasy. As they get more comfortable you can lower you hand to deeper levels, and eventually remove it altogether!

    I hope this helps!

    Becca

    In addition to having them put their face in their hands and/or your hands, try having them put their face in a shallow bowl so that the rim of the bowl is just under the surface of the water. The bowl should be a large salad, soup or cereal bowl so that the child's face will fit in it. The child can be sitting on a step or standing in chest deep water. You might need to support the child to give him confidence. As they get used to the hands, then bowl, slowly introduce them to the pool water without anything except your steady support! It takes lots of patience and time with some timid children.
    When teaching them to blow bubbles, watch to see that they don't "sniff" water up their nose! This can be avoided by having them put their entire face in the water while blowing bubbles. ( Many just put their mouth in and blow, leaving the nose exposed.)



  • My 6 yo is still terrified to put his face in the water. Any tips or games we can use to gain some confidence?

    Along w the other great suggestions already mentioned, you may try to put some goggles or even a snorkeling mask on him so his vision will be clear while going to the "unknown". If you put submersible toys underwater, or hold something that doesn't float in your hand, he will be able to truly see it - providing motivation to go "look" underwater and a goal to achieve once he gets there!

    Example; hold in your hand some coins about 6 inches underwater. With goggles or a mask on, ask him to count how much money you are holding...

    By being able to have the same visibility that we have on land, it may provide some comfort; a certain amount if reassurance that the underwater world isn't so scary, and actually provides a whole lot of opportunity for exploration...how fun and exciting!!!



  • A lot of great ideas above. First I have a few questions. Lets figure out where his fear or sensory issues live. Will he put his ears, one at a time, on each side in the water and hold it there? Will he put his mouth by or in the water, closed or blowing bubbles? When you or he pours water over his head in the tub or shower, is he ok with this, water over eyes?

    In addition to the above awesome tips that have been shared by others, as an Aquatic Educator for 22 years, I would help him master holding his breath or humming first before bubbles. To do this, in a shower works best, have him hold his breath (we call bubble cheeks) and then have him HUMM his favorite song without a breath, so about 5 seconds and work up to 8 seconds, if he can with his full head in the shower with water pouring over (wearing a pair of goggles is a tip here) you can always remove them later. If no shower, do the same thing with the watering can/cup in the tub. Learning to HUMM forces air out the nose. So he doesn't accidentally snuff water up his nose...which burns! AFTER he has mastered "humm in the shower" and has gained a bit of inter-confidence. Then practice this in the bowl of water, then the pool with hands, toys/targets, even a mirror works great. THEN bubbles: have him play "blow the ball". With a straw he first practices blowing a cotton ball/ping pong ball/light plastic ball across the floor or counter. Then practice this in the tub, then on the surface of the pool. When he takes the straw out of his mouth he takes a great big "Frog Bite" of air, then immediately again blows air through the straw, pushing the target/object around. He then learns: a fun game that might take his mind off his fear, true cause and effect, how to hold his lips properly, mastering the timing with the motor skill. Remind him that he doesn't take his Frog Bite until his mouth is off the straw/above the water. When you think he is getting the timing of breath exchange mastered, only then blow threw the straw into the water, while still blowing lift the straw out of the water (demonstrate this for him first), show remove the straw from the mouth, then BIG FROG BITE of air. Maybe he will experiment with blowing threw the straw AND putting his nose in at the same time, then later his whole face!!! Practice makes strong muscle memory and will solidify a long term learned response. Its worth being patient, it is worth it for a safer swimmer for a lifetime. :)



  • Hey there! As a swim instructor I come across parents who are frustrated about the fact that their children simply aren't relaxed or comfortable in the water. First things first - your patience is important. The water can be a scary thing, and sometimes being afraid is a good thing! Here's what I will say - bath time! Practicing bubbles is important. There are many different ways, such as blowing bubbles through a diving ring or pretending to talk to the 'fish' through their bubbles. Whatever you can think of that works for your little one!


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