Teaching your kids to put their face in the water

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Skills – Readiness for Submerging Your Face in the water

Suitable for Children aged 2+ years old

One of the first key skills we teach young children at Kingswim in our Learn to Swim program, is the development of water confidence and how to feel comfortable submerging your face under the water.

This activity can be daunting to young children at first, as the sensation of being under water feels unnatural to them.

The best way to help them be confident in submerging their face is with gradual steps and lots of practice and encouragement.

Make it fun, your child will learn to love the water!


Before you start…

1. Firstly make sure your child is comfortable blowing bubbles in the water. Take a breath and dip mouth in and blow bubbles to exhale out. Refer to our Blowing Bubbles Activity Sheet


2. Feel comfortable having water poured down their face. This can be done during bath time games using cups or a toy watering can to tip water onto their head and trickle down their face. If they are not comfortable with this at first, try using a facecloth to cover the face and then pour the water over, eventually moving the facecloth away.

If your child is still not comfortable get them to hold the face cloth and pour the water over themselves. The more control they have, the more comfortable they will be. It’s always good to demonstrate the activity yourself too. Join in the fun and as your child can see it is safe to do, they will be more likely to try it too. 

The more they get comfortable having water poured down their face add more and more water.

You can also get your child comfortable with water on their face by giving them showers.

Tip/TrickTeach your child to blink the water out of their eyes instead of rubbing.


3. The next task to be ready is teaching your child how to hold their breath.


Skills – Help your child submerge their face in the water (Bath time exercises)

Tips before you start

  • Never trick your child or force them to put their head under the water. It needs to be a fun experience.
  • Keep each session short and simple. Maybe try 3-5 attempts.
  • Be patient and take things slowly.
  • Don’t pressure your child to do each step or rush through them.
  • Children learn off you so modelling the new skill is a very powerful way to teach. So show them each step.
  • When you are teaching your children to put their head underwater, ensure you are always within arm’s reach and keep a close watch on what they are doing.
  • Most importantly have fun and finish each attempt with a positive experience.
  • Remember that when your child has mastered the art of submerging their face, they will enjoy it so much that they will be forever bobbing up and down in the water and will spend more time under than on top.



1. Kiss the water

Get your child to bend down and kiss the water and come back up


2. Hold their breath and put their mouth under the water and back up

Get your child to take a large breath, hold and dip their mouth under the water and back up. If they are struggling, you can try cupping some water in their hands first and dip their face in their hands or start off with chin dipped in, then try an ear, then forehead and eventually full face.


3. Try submerging other parts of the face

Next try getting your child to dip their cheek, then ear, nose and move on to forehead in the water and back up.


4. When submerging your face in the water gradually increase the length of time 

When you think your child is ready encourage them to put their face in the water for a few seconds and come back up. Increase the time as they get more confident.


5. Hold breath and then blow bubbles

As they get more confident at putting their face in, increase the time under the water gradually by getting them to hold their breath and blowing bubbles.

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