Swimming with kids. In theory, it's all fun and games. In reality, the only swim nappy you pack rips, you forget change for the lockers and the river running through the changing room makes drying off a crawling toddler a nightmare. Cue complete meltdown - and probably one from your toddler too. So here's a bunch of tried and tested hacks to help alleviate some of the swimming stress.
1. It's all in the research
Research might sound a bit OTT, but it pays dividends both home and away. At your local leisure centre, your toddler won't want to splash around in a pool unless it's toasty warm. So phone ahead & find out whether they have a warm pool and when it's the quietest. Going away? Check out the facilities in your accommodation. If the pool's not heated, then check the region's average temperature at that time of year. A freezing outdoor pool in a mild climate isn't really great for tots who aren't going to be swimming enough to keep warm.
Oh, and while we're on the topic, look for a hotel a with a 'zero entry' pool, i.e. a gentle slope in the shallow end. It means your baby can sit in the shallow water and play with their toys without you having to spend your whole time in the baby pool.
2. Kit yourself out
If you're flying solo with the tot/s, you'll need to plan for the swimming trip that little more. When I take my son by myself I make sure I have my cozzie on under my clothes for a quick change: it's like school swim lessons all over again! (Just remember to pack underwear for afterwards 😱)
Planning a pool based holiday? Invest in a hooded towel or robe that will keep them protected from the harmful rays. And don't forget a few swim toys - great for bribing them to get out and sit still too.
3. Dress for success
Parents - leave your skinny jeans at home, you're never going to be able to get them back on again with semi damp legs. I've been there & got the ripped waistband to prove it! Choose a simple outfit for the kids too. If you plan to shower at the pool & it's late in the day, just pack PJs. If they conk out in the car, you can just put them straight into their cot (well, in theory).
Lots of pools require kids in nappies to wear a swim nappy & neoprene pant as well. If you plan to make swimming a regular thing, the almost-100%-guarantee-you're-not-going-to-have-a-shituation means investing in one is worth every penny. All our swim nappies are just the ticket. Alternatively, friends with kids of a similar age may have one for you to borrow - so get asking!
4. Arm them with swimming aids
Beginner swimmers always need a helping hand to find their water wings, whether you start them as teeny tiny babies or when they're older. Babies won't feel out of their depth with a swim seat and then as they get older, there's a range of cool floats and swim rings to buy that leave them hands-free and teaches them to use every part of their body, instead of being restricted by armbands.
5. Pool-side safety
Travel cots make the ideal safe haven for tots around the pool. Pop it under a parasol with a couple of toys and you don't need to worry about them teetering on the edge while you get ready for a dip. Slippy feet are also something to be avoided - water shoes ensure you aren't dealing with lots of post swimming tumbles.
6. Fancy a freebie?
Swimming lessons for babies & toddlers have really become a thing, but they don't come cheap. However, numerous companies offer free taster sessions to entice new customers in. Whether you think you may take advantage of their services or not; what's the harm in trying – they're free!
We hope these tips will help minimise the stress and maximise the fun when you next hit the pool. And remember, if you need any more guidance, our Live Chat Team is here to help, 9am-5pm, every weekday. Just hit that purple button, bottom right.