My 4yr old has repeated the same level of swimming approx four times now, all because my son can't stand getting water in his eyes. (This is also a problem in the bath and while washing his hair). We have tried proper-sized goggles, but these don't seem to work.
He always says he will be brave in the pool and jump in and put his face under, but when the time comes, he doesn't do it.
He was brave during a recent vacation and started getting his face and entire head wet, but this went away in lessons. Any suggestions or comments??
This is a common problem that can be easily overcome but takes time and patience. The most important thing is not to force the issue but take it gradually, one stage at a time.
The first and most important part is to put the fun back into swimming from his point of view. Take him swimming yourself, not for a lesson but to play and have fun, with no emphasis on putting his face in the water. Don’t even mention it. That way, he is under no pressure to perform. This is probably why he began wetting his face during your vacation. He was having fun without the expectations of his swimming lessons.
Next, while you are playing, throw around a ball. The light splashing of the ball will wet his face, and if he is having fun, he won’t care. Make it clear to him that it is only water and it will not hurt him (obvious to us, but 4-year-olds need to be reminded of this). Teach him that if he blinks his eyes a few times the water will go away and he should then forget about it.
Get on with your ball game. If it continues to bother him, suggest he wear his goggles and teach him that no water will get into his eyes if he wears them.
Wearing goggles are key to progressing with this problem. As he gets used to his face being wet, you can encourage him to collect small toys held just under the water's surface.
By wearing goggles, he can see very clearly in the water, which quite often opens up a whole new world for children.
The first point is the most important: take away the pressure and expectations from him and put the fun back into his swimming. He will progress far quicker in his way.