How smoothly this takes place is very important. You want to make sure that the child goes under and then comes back up to the surface very smoothly. This is mainly to help the child not to be surprised by abrupt motions even more so than the actual going under water. Children can hold their breath for at least 5-7 seconds – which is a long time! Plenty of time to calmly take a child under water! Doing this in this easy and non-alarming way will make the first few experiences doing this fun and the child will want to do this new activity more!
Before you ever try taking your baby underwater, try the following steps:
- Get your baby comfortable and playful in the water.
- Hold your baby (under the arms) facing you – making sure that you make eye contact.
- Say your baby’s name, ready, go! for your signal and then blow quickly on your baby’s face.
- Your baby is almost guaranteed to make the funny face. When the face is made, pour a little water on the face, and smoothly and gently lower your baby’s head completely under the water for one second.
- Smoothly bring your baby up and smile and laugh and provide a toy for your baby to hold. It’s important that you don’t act concerned and say “you’re OK” or anything that would signal fear to the in any way.
- Play for a few minutes, practice your back float and then do the underwater exercise again.
With older ones (toddlers & young children), you can follow these steps to introduce going under water:
- Tell your child that you are going under the water together.
- Count to three, do a little jump and both of you go under the water together for a second.
- Come up and wipe the child’s face.
- Distract your child by making spitting noises, asking your child to wipe your face or giving him a toy.
- Even have him push YOU under the water.
- If YOU don’t want to go under water, find some other way to make it fun!
- Alternate going under water with some fun activities or practicing other water skills like back floating.
- Practice this new skill five to ten times so that the child is sure to remember it.
Related to going under water is helping the child to open his or her eyes under water.
- Let the child see you open your eyes under water.
- Have the child wave to you when you go under water. The child will know that you can see what is going on – even though you’re under water.
- Have the child retrieve a favorite toy from under water.
- You may also opt for purchasing good quality swim goggles.