Swimming with tots. 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 parent 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.
It's all in the research
Researching might sound a bit OTT, but it's great for both home and away. If you're planning to go to your local leisure centre, your toddler won't want to splash around in a pool unless it's toasty warm or when it's busy. Phone ahead & find out whether they have a warm pool and when it's the quietest. Going away? Make sure you take a bit of time to look at the pool in your accommodation. If it's not heated, then check the area's average temperature to see whether there's enough sun. A freezing outdoor pool isn't really great for tots who aren't going to be swimming loads to keep warm. Oh, and while we're on the holiday topic, look for a hotel that has a zero entry pool. These are the ones with a gentle slope in the shallow end. It means your baby can sit in the shallow end and play with their toys without you having to spend your whole time in the baby pool.
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 little man 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.
Dress for the occasion
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 kiddo too. If you plan to shower at the pool & it's late in the day, just pack the bubs pyjamas. If they conk out in the car, you can just put them straight into their cot (well in theory). For the swim itself, lots of pools require kiddies 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 these swim nappies are just the ticket. Alternatively, friends with kids of a similar age may have one for you to borrow - so get asking!
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. Teeny tiny ones won't feel out of their depth with a swim seat like this popular one from Sunnylife, 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.
Travel cots make the ideal safe haven for tots around the pool - a perfect hack for those summer holiday getaways. Pop the cot under an umbrella with a couple of toys & you won't be worried about little peeps 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 - like these Splash Shoes.
Look out for freebies
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; watch out for the freebies – after all, they're free! My toddler and I have just completed a term of paid for swimming lessons and I'm so thankful for the confidence it gave me in the pool with my little man – so I'll be watching out for the freebies when my second bun is out of the oven.