A very common issue that comes up with parents of toddlers and preschoolers is that their child suddenly doesn't like water on their face.
This can make bath time extremely stressful for parents and children alike. If and when your child becomes adverse to rinsing and washing hair due to fear of water in the face, swim lessons can help. We recommend bringing some of our teaching techniques into your bathtub at home:
- Use a washcloth to gently dampen the head and face
- Use a small watering can to sprinkle water over the shoulders, neck, back of the head, ears and eventually the face.
- Try wearing goggles
- Switch to the shower
- Have your child try to rinse their own hair using any of the above techniques. Giving them some control over “how” we wash hair can help.
When this fear appears, it's important to stay calm and reassuring. We recommend you avoid using special rinse buckets and visors that eliminate all water contact on the face. We want to slowly desensitize the children, getting them used to the feeling. It's important for little ones to be calm and comfortable with the sensation of water on and around their face.
Why? Glad you asked!
Drowning is the #1 cause of accidental death in children under age 5 in California (and the US). When it comes to drowning, seconds count. The difference between life and death or even life with permanent brain damage can be a matter of seconds. So, if a child falls into a body of water, you want them to remain calm and hold their breath. You do not want them to panic and hyperventilate underwater, which quickens the process of drowning.
So, bust out some new bath toys and take some steps back…then slowly re-introduce water on the face. It may take some weeks, but with your swim teacher, we will get through this tough spell!