My kids love to be in the pool. I think they would swim all day everyday if I let them. I love to take them swimming because it means they will be worn out and take good naps so I can get some stuff done. Win, win all around.
But taking children to the pool can be stressful. I will admit that I was a little hesitant when we headed to the pool for the first time this summer. I mean, I have three very young children, none of whom can swim on their own yet. Three of them and one of me…a lot to deal with at the pool. I have a system and a few rules that keeps everyone safe and sane.
Here’s my tips:
– Lather on the sunscreen BEFORE leaving the house. Once you get to the pool the kids are ready to jump in and don’t want to wait for sunscreen and it will be a battle. I strip my kids down at home and lather them up from head to toe with sunblock and then I put them in their suits. This way I am less likely to miss a spot. You can see some of favorite sunscreens here.
– I put the kids in their swimsuits and a pair of crocs for the car ride…nothing else. There’s no need to deal with putting on and taking off cover ups for the car. When we get to the pool all we have to do is take off shoes and put on floaties. Doing as much as possible at home means less time for the kids to get idle while waiting to get in the pool. (This is also the way we travel to swimming lessons).
– Don’t bring a lot of stuff. I only bring the necessities with me: sunscreen, keys, phone, sunglasses, hats, 2 extra swim diapers, 2 regular diapers, wipes, cover ups, and sometimes a snack. I keep everything in a big coated cotton tote bag so if I set it down in water everything stays dry. You may be wondering “what about towels?” The pool we go to has towels for guests to use so I don’t bother bringing any with me. Why bring more than I have too…and less laundry for me. My kids do have these cute personalized towels they received as a gift. They are perfect for bringing to swim lessons where we need a towel.
– State the rules before getting to the pool…more than once. My kids are usually very well behaved. I think part of that is because I set clear expectations and I follow through. I have two non-negotiable rules pertaining pool outings:
- Floaties remain on the entire time we are at the pool. Floatie comes off we go home. With three kids that can’t swim without assistance I can’t afford to help one swim while the others are left alone with their floats. (Never, ever, rely on pool floats to keep your child safe in the water. Children can still drown while wearing a float. Please supervise your children in the water at all times!) My girls like the Puddle Jumper float and the Aqua Tot floatie.
- Do what Mommy says the first time. If the kids don’t listen the first time then it is out of the pool and off to home we go.
I usually state the rules while putting sunscreen on my children and then again (once or twice) in the car on the way to the pool. Sometimes, I have them tell me the rules while we are in the car.
-Make the transition from pool to home easy. When it is time to head home wet suits come off and the kids put on their cover ups, underwear/diaper, and crocs. When we get home it is usually nap time and they go right to bed in their cover ups. (After swimming lessons, we do a quick dry off with a towel and then put a cover up on over a wet bathing suit and change clothes once at home.)
These tips make heading to the pool a pleasant experience for all of us. The kids can have a good time and I am not stressed about keeping them safe.
Do you have any tips for taking kids to the pool or beach?
If you are not comfortable taking your children to the pool alone please don’t do it. The most important thing is to do what works best for you and what will keep your family safe.