Friday, 11 November 2011

Taking little people to the pool

Last summer, I often took my kids swimming. At first, I was a bit nervous about how I would manage both kids in the water (Mr Sociable was had just turned 3 years, and Mr Fun was about 3 months). But I have a brave friend, who regularly takes her 3 kids swimming by herself (last summer, her eldest was 3 years old). She reassured me that I would be fine. We went together - with a few other Mums from playgroup - and it was fun! I actually enjoyed taking both kids in the pool by myself :)

Last summer, down the coast
Now that the weather is warming up, I have started taking the kids to the pool every week. Mr Sociable has a swimming lesson and then the three of us swim afterwards, for an hour or more. 

Spring 2011, at a local pool
I have learnt some things along the way that have made it easier to juggle the two kids in the pool (and three wet people in the change-rooms). Here are my top tips:

1. Be ok with using a floatie for your older kids. I know there is controversy about whether kids learn to swim better without floaties. But, the back-float allows Mr Sociable to swim independently, which is important when I'm by myself (because I am generally looking after Mr Fun).

2. If your kids are toilet-trained, dress them in swimmers before you leave home. 

3. Take a flexible bucket. I use the bucket to carry all the stuff that needs to be accessible at the pool (floaties, towels, goggles, shampoo, etc). Because it's flexible, I put the handles together like a bag & hook it over the pram handle (or ask Mr Sociable to carry it!). On cold days, when I want my kids to have showers afterwards, I use the bucket as a bath - ensuring that Mr Fun has somewhere clean & safe to sit while I have a shower too. Finally, the bucket is a great place to chuck all the wet stuff to bring home (no plastic bags for us!).

This photo was actually taken on holidays, but you get the idea!

4. Take snacks. These are the secret to low-stress change times. I get Mr Fun dry & dressed, while Mr Sociable dresses himself. I strap both kids in the pram (or sit Mr Sociable on a seat if I haven't brought the double-pram) & give them something to eat. No one gets food until they are dry and dressed (which is a strong incentive for Mr Sociable). While they are happily eating, I can get myself organised :)

5. Be prepared that they will probably fall asleep in the car on the way home. I like to have Mr Fun's room darkened ready for sleep - so that I can easily transfer him from the car when we get home (I just leave Mr Sociable sleeping in the car in the garage). 

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