Though the Chicago winter months bring cold, snow and gloomy days, swimming continues to be a great activity for the family, albeit indoors. Swimming offers many benefits for children, including enhancing sensory processing, strength, endurance and coordination. A common concern among families with whom I work with is that their child does not like dipping their face in the water, which impacts the child’s swimming experience.
These strategies aim to assist parents that are working with their child to feel comfortable with dipping their face in the water during bath time, as practice for the swimming pool:
- Play “Simon Says” by indicating different body parts that should dip into the water. For example, “Simon says put your nose in the water” or “Simon says put your ear in the water.”
- Blow bubbles in the water using a straw. When your child feels comfortable with this, remove the straw and have them blow bubbles with their lips touching the water.
- Soak a washcloth in water and have your child wring it out over various parts of their body (hand, ear, mouth, etc). Allow your child to wring out the washcloth over your body as well.
Try playing these bath time games for several weeks and slowly introduce placing their whole face into the water. These activities will help your child feel more comfortable with putting their face in the water, one body part at a time.