Helping Children Get Their Faces Wet in the Pool: PART ONE
Updated: Jul 31, 2019
Why Is My Child So Afraid?
Why is getting your face wet so important?
Safety! In case of an emergency, your child needs to know how to breathe or hold his/her breath under water
Once her face is in the water, your child can learn to float.
Achieving a horizontal body position is key when learning to swim. Strokes are more hydro-dynamically efficient when the neck is in line with the trunk (i.e. when the face in the water)
Being completely submerged underwater, or in water chest high heightens body awareness. For children with Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism or motor planning challenges, this gives the sensory system a huge boost.
Three main factors interfere with children feeling comfortable with their faces in the water:
1. EARS: Water in the ears feels or sounds uncomfortable. Stick your ear in the pool and focus on the sensation and sound. Now that you focus on it, isn’t that strange? For some children this takes getting used to all on it's own.
2. EYES: Water in the eyes feels uncomfortable. Some children have a fear of being unable to see, especially children who have a weak sense of body position in space and over-rely on the visual system.
3. MOUTH/NOSE: Children who have not learned to hold their breath or blow bubbles through their noses and their mouths may be afraid of being unable to breath. Breath control and blowing bubbles should be taught explicitly! There are lots of games and cool gizmos to make the learning process fun. My favorite is the "Bob game!" Build up this skill slowly and try to keep all experiences positive.
The more you are in the pool having fun along with her, the more likely your child is to experiment with getting his/her face wet.