Kids can get a bit nervous at the thought of submerging their faces in water.

There are a number of easy, fun, and comfortable strategies to acclimate your child to water; however, it’s important for parents to begin slowly. Gradually build from one small step to another. Each step may require 2-5 repetitions so make sure to celebrate each step accomplished.

Things you’ll need

  • Small plastic cups, preferably with little holes in the bottom
  • Squirt toys
  • Bucket
  • Wash cloth
  • Other fun toys

The steps to take in order to prepare your child for pool swimming and putting their faces comfortably in water

Getting the Face Wet

  1. Fill your bathtub with a few inches of water. Carefully place your child in. Have them sit, relax, and enjoy. Encourage them to use a wash cloth to clean the toy ducky or other fun toy they’ve brought into the tub with them. After the toy has been washed, ask your child to wash just their body with the cloth. Don’t wash the face, for now.
  2. Get a cup with holes and have your child drip water on themselves. As they grow more comfortable with this, encourage them to drip water on their neck, then their cheek, then the other cheek, then their ears, then on the back of their head, and finally, a few drops on top of their head. Be patient. Your child may acclimate in one day or it may take several days. Increase the amount of water in the tub gradually each day.
  3. Once comfortable feeling the drops of water on the head, have your child pour larger amounts of water on their head. Start by counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 with each number increase representing more water poured on their head. Once you get to 5, your child should be ready to put face in on their own.
  4. Fill water to a bit over their belly button (in a sitting position) and now have your child place their face into the water while holding their breath. Once they lift their head out of the water, tell them how amazing they were (even if it wasn’t a full submersion). Continually encourage your child until there is full face submersion.
  5. Lay your child on their stomach with head out of water and have them try putting face in.

Blowing Bubbles

  1. Fill a cup or bucket to the rim.
  2. Have your child put their face close to the rim and encourage them to blow out the (pretend) birthday candles.
  3. As they get better at blowing them out, have them get closer to the rim, then right to the rim, and then have them put their lips in the bucket.
  4. Once their lips are in the bucket, ask them to blow bubbles.

Getting Used to Buoyancy on Their Back

  1. Fill the bathtub with a ½ inch of water. Lay your child on their back getting a bit of their ears in water. They may need time to get used to the sensation but eventually they will.
  2. Once they acclimate to the sensation, increase the water level by an additional ½ inch, then by another ½ inch, and so on.
  3. Once the water level is high enough for them to float a bit, allow them to get comfortable breathing in and out as they become used to the new concept of buoyancy. Encourage them to keep their head back and stomach up.