Do you find sometimes going swimming is more of a hassle than an enjoyment?
Do you spend half the time trying to contain your toddler whilst forcing your oversized bag in to a locker that has been badly designed for parents?
Are you freezing your bottom off (literally) whilst trying to get your wriggly, hungry and unhappy baby dressed as quickly as you can?
Don't worry it can be a breeze once you've followed these 10 tips.
These are my 10 Top Tips for when you take your little fish to the swimming pool.
Top Tip #1: Have a bag that actually fits in the lockers provided at the swimming pool.
There's nothing worse than struggling to squeeze your darn bag in to the ridiculously designed lockers provided at most swimming pools. They tend to be long and narrow so the duffle bag design just doesn't work and if you are like me and forget to zip up all the pockets then everything falls on to the disgustingly muddy, unclean floor before you have even started. I recommend two rucksacks that can be stacked on top of each other. One for your child/ren and the other for yourself. Of course if you go as a family you will use another locker as well.
Packing the bag properly before you put it in the locker is essential. When you're dripping wet and freezing cold after being in the water, the last thing you want to do is have dry clothes in your arms which are also getting wet; especially if you have a little fish to attend to. You can easily carry a waterproof rucksack to the changing rooms having hands free and available if you need to pick up your child off the slippy floor.
The rucksacks I think work really well, tried and tested by myself and my own little fish, are Speedo Backpack and Trunki PaddlePak.
Top Tip #2: Make sure you have everything you need before you leave.
There is nothing worst than unpacking your bag to find the one thing that you can't find is still sitting on the side at home.
A list of essential items to take with you:
1) Your child's Little Fish Swim Trainer
2) Hooded Poncho Towel + an extra small towel for your child
I like this fish one.
3) Towel wrap and Turban Hair Towel for you (mummy's this is directed at you - daddy's don't necessarily need the turban hair towel lol)
I like these:
4) Toys listed on your Prompt Sheets for the activity you have chosen to do during your pool session
Please see "Which toys have I tried and tested" blog.
5) A mesh bag to put the toys & Prompt Sheet in to take to poolside
6) Clean nappy for those who still need them
7) Shampoo (if you get a chance to wash - I generally don't bother. Just rinse off and bath later)
8) Cream (for your face and your child's body if you have really dry skin like we do)
9) Hair leave-in/tangle free conditioner (you won't have time to brush your hair whilst running after your toddler be-lining for the door)
10) Your change of underwear and a easy to put on top
11) Your goggles (both of yours, when you are ready to use them)
I like these goggles for your little fish.
All perfectly fitting in to your two rucksacks.
Top Tip #3: Already be changed in your swim attire.
It will make your life a little easier when you are ready yourself and you only need to get your little fish dressed and then pack up your rucksacks.
I recommend that you wear an easy to take off, when wet swimming costume. You need to be practical and be able to take your wet stuff off in a matter of seconds. I wear a 2 piece as I find it quicker to take off whilst making sure my towel wrap doesn't fall on the dirty floor.
I also wear a rash guard. This stops the accidental boob flashes when your toddler is grabbing at you because they are excitably swimming.
Tracksuit bottoms or very loose fitting trousers are a must. So much easier than jeans. It is hilarious trying to put your bottoms on when you are only half dry.
Flip flops or Crocs once on pool side. I wear them poolside and such a necessity when having to take your potty training toddler to the toilets in a flash. I also attach the locker key to them, which sit poolside with the poncho towel.
I wear a zip up hoody too - they are quick and easy to put on and if it's a little cold outside then I can put the hood up.
Your outfit should be compact enough to fit in your rucksack so you don't have to put your clothes and shoes separately on top in the locker.
Just don't forget your change of underwear. I have many times which is no biggy but a little uncomfortable for the drive home.
Top Tip #4: Take treats for after swimming.
This is the best trick. Sit your toddler on their spare towel wearing their poncho hooded towel (so they are warm) and give them their most favorite snack/treat to eat whilst you get changed in to your dry attire. Give them just enough so you have plenty of time to get yourself organised. This then enables you to be dry and ready to get them dressed. Make sure you stand them on the bench not the floor to dress them. It also gives you enough time to finish off packing the bags so you can run after them once they have figured out how to unlock the door.
Top Tip #5: Turban Hair Towel is genius.
For those with long hair which drips everywhere and gets your back all wet even though you have dry clothes on, the Turban Hair Towel is amazing. It's small enough for your rucksack and its quick and easy to put on for when you're getting dry.
Don't forget to take it off and put your hair conditioner in that is brilliant at de-tangling your hair without having to brush it. (One less thing to take). If you have a girl then this is perfect for them too.
Top Tip #6: Roll your wet stuff in your biggest towel.
So as to not get everything dripping wet in your bags - roll your stuff up in your biggest towel or separate them up in to smaller bundles. It is easier when you get home to get them out of your rucksacks and put them straight into the washing machine.
Top Tip #7: Hang your googles up to dry.
Don't keep your goggles stuffed in your rucksack or their original boxes as the coating on the lenses will come off and they won't be as clear - they will have a tendency to cloud up more quickly when in the water.
Tip Tip #8: Glue the holes of your "Squirty" toys.
It's yucky when you squirt your toddler with a toy and a disgusting, grimy residue comes out with the water. Glueing it stops old water going moldy and stagnant. I recommend these toys as they can be unscrewed and cleaned.
Top Tip #9: Ear bands are great.
For those toddlers that get bad ears from being in the water, ear bands are really helpful. You can combine them with ear plugs if your little fish will let you put them in.
These ear bands are good.
Top Tip #10: Make sure your toddlers ears are dried.
Either buy ear drops or make your own (how to do this click here). This will stop your toddler from getting "swimmer's ear" or sore ears. The reason they can get sore is if the inside of the ear is not dried properly. The drops will doe it for you. Only a few drops in each ear are needed and they can be applied whilst your little fish is in their car seat if they are a little wiggly. Ideally you want to have them turn their head to the side to administer but who can get their spirited toddler to do that!
So there you have it. Stick to these 10 Top Tips and you'll have an amazingly successful and enjoyable trip to the swimming pool.
Please go to my main page on Blog to find more useful Tips.