Moving ahead with teaching toddler swimming, you will reach a point where it becomes necessary for your child to put their face underwater. One of your goals should be to help them reach a level of confidence where they will be comfortable doing this, and eventually this will progress to further swimming skills. It’s really the final point of letting go of fear for them, and becoming more relaxed about the water, before being able to move on to expanding toddler swimming ability.
To encourage your child to be enthusiastic about this step in toddler swimming, this could be a great time to introduce goggles, especially if you are able to use a swimming pool, or calm water. If your toddler is nervous, you can put them on in the bath the evening before, and it could be helpful if you wear your own goggles in the pool, to demonstrate. There are many types of goggles out there, and of course while getting the fit right is the most important thing, goggles can be a lot of fun. To learn more about choosing the right goggles for your child please see “How to choose the right goggles”.
We don’t generally recommend that a baby or toddler should open their eyes while their face is in the water without goggles on, as it may irritate their delicate young eyes, and cause some redness. But just be mindful of this and don’t worry too much, no permanent damage will occur and some toddlers are quite comfortable to do – particularly if the pool is salt water or not too heavily chlorinated.
While they are using the goggles, encourage them to look around. If you’re in a pool, drop some brightly coloured objects on the bottom, or the steps, which will be enticing for them to look at. Make it a fun activity, go slowly, and no pressure. Be enthusiastic about their progress, no matter how small – smile and be reassuring. As they gain more confidence, you might like to wear your own goggles and look at each other under the water briefly.
Never force any childs’ head underwater, as this could have drastic repercussions and introduce fear of the water which can be difficult to overcome. Be encouraging but let your child proceed at their own pace – remember, this is supposed to be fun!
It may take some time before your toddler becomes completely comfortable with their face underwater, and it may occasionally seem like it’s two step forwards and one step back. But they will get there, and when they do, this is often the step that prompts a child to make a leap forward in terms of toddler swimming.