‘Daddy, I need another wee-weeeeeeeeee’ screamed No 1
I often think going swimming with the kids is like playing a game of chess.
So many pieces to ‘move/get right/think ahead/avoid losing’ it can sometimes prove quite stressful. The key to successful family swimming in my mind is in the planning.
Here are some of my top tips I’ve picked up along the way for making it there and back in one piece (and off course having some fun in the process):
- See if the pool you are going too has a membership scheme where you join for free or a nominal fee and then you get swimming at a reduced rate
- Use a bag that is twice as big as you need – wet towels and swimming costumes always take up twice as much room on the way back
- Rather than using a bag you have to carry, use a large rucksack so that you can pop it on your back and have two hands free for crowd control purposes
- Pack some plastic shopping bags to put the wet costumes in afterwards to help stop your bag getting wet
- An obvious one but try to use the family changing areas (was a year before I realised there was an area in my local pool with lots more space, bigger showers etc)
- If you wear glasses consider wearing contact lenses to avert expensive breakages and/or scratches
- There are some great children’s swimming rucksacks available so they can carry their gear and also helps to keep it separate (see picture above)
- Avoid wearing unnecessary jeweloery to the pool as its one less thing to take off/put safe/put back on – after all you can only lose your wedding ring once!
- Consider putting the kid’s swim suits on under their clothes before you go (especially helpful if you have girls with rubix cubelike cossies). However make sure they don’t need the toilet before you get there as you’ll just have to strip them down to go anyway (learnt that the hard way with a pee accident)
- Two-piece costumes for girls make things much easier for loo trips when your there
- Don’t forget change for the lockers – I usually keep a selection of coins in the swimming bag for all eventualities
- Dress streamline – rugging up the kids in 8-layers is just going to make your life harder getting them undressed/dressed
- Dress every one in baggy clothes which are easier to get into afterwards when your still a bit wet from the pool, rather than figure hugging designer drain pipe trousers with 87 buttons and designer t-shirts
- Tracky bottoms are easier to put on than tight trousers
- Avoid clothes with buttons – go for clothes that are easy to slip on
- Shoes without laces are easier to get on and off
- Pack a warm but light weight coat/fleece for the kids to wear when they get out if its the winter months so that they don’t catch a chill
- Blow up the arm-bands before you go so you can just slip them on when your there
- Use the hooks in the changing rooms to hang your bags on as you get changed to free up space and make it easier to put away as you go
- As you get changed turn all the clothes back the right way so that they are easier to get back on afterwards
- Go to Family Fun Sessions where the pool provide floats and other toys to play with
- Pools with wave machines and flumes are a great way to keep the kids entertained
- Save some money by using reusable cotton swimming nappies rather than disposable ones
Consider buying children’s goggles to help them enjoy ‘diving down’ activities and mitigate sore eyes with the chlorine
A real game changer was getting hold of some toys to take into the pool with us – these can be sinking hoops, squidgy balls, floats, inflatable toys
If your kids suffer with the cold explore getting hold of a body swim suit made out of lycra or neoprene – there are some great themed outfits available such as a pirate and mermaid ones
- Use kids towels with a hole/hood so you can pop them on and they don’t fall on the floor (well at least not by accident anyway)
- If your kids have a favourite towel don’t forget it!
- Consider swimming lessons to help build your kids confidence
- Sew swimming badges onto your kids favourite towel
- Use a large zipper plastic sandwich bag to put shower gel and kids shampoo in to avoid spillages at the bottom of the swimming bag
- Have the towels and toiletries out of the bag in the locker ready for use when you get out afterwards
- Alternatively you can put all the towels and toiletries in a separate locker for easy access for the shower
- Or if the lockers are far away you can bring the towels and toiletries with you and leave them by the side of the pool ready for the shower
- Use kids shampoo/wash that have a dispenser pump on so that it doesn’t all end up on the floor of the shower
- If your still using nappies the Pull Up variety make things easier
- Snacks and a drink for afterwards to bribe kids to get out/get dressed/behave/stop eating each other
- Use of the hair dryer can be fun (although there may be a charge for these)
- And if all else fails bring the grandparents/friends/a pensioner off the street to come along to help out!
Would love to hear any tips you have so that I can get this list up to 50!