I only have 18 months experience with taking a kid to the pool, so you can take this with a grain of salt. Whether you’re going to Parent & Tot swimming lessons, or just going to the pool for fun, here are my tips for surviving the pool with a baby or toddler.
10 Steps for Surviving the Pool with a Baby or Toddler:
Step 1: Everyone have a snack before you go.
Step 2: Make sure you’re wearing a swimsuit that won’t distract you every 3 seconds. (make sure it fits, covers what you want covered, and won’t give out on you mid swim). Don’t worry about shaving, greasy hair, bikini lines, or your gut. No one is looking at you, they are looking at your cute kid.
Step 3: Put your swimsuit on before you leave the house. Wear as few pieces of clothing as possible. I wear a dress and flip flops regardless of the weather. (If its snowing I wear boots). I don’t bring socks, bras, underwear, sweaters etc. If its cold, I add a jacket that covers my boobs so its not so nipply.
Same goes for the kid. If you’re 30 seconds from the pool (like we are), I slap a swim diaper on him before I leave the house. If I’m expecting a poo, or the drive is further, leave them in a normal diaper. Those swim diapers are only meant as poo catchers; they absorb nothing. If we’re going first thing in the morning; he’s still wearing his sleeper when we go. His shoes are easy slip on/offs. And his outfit for coming home is as few pieces as possible.
When he was 4-8 months old, swimming lessons were in the evening so his attire when leaving was his pjs. One piece, zips up, makes it as easy as possible. If you have a little girl, a dress is perfect “go home” attire. I often put Callahan in a romper for going home. One piece, zipper, you get the picture. Do not fuck around with snaps! Zippers are the way to go!
Step 4: Pack a toy or an easy to manage snack, or both depending on the kid’s age. No stuffed animals or books as they will get wet.
Step 5: Once you’re in the change room, rearrange your bag so that the items you’ll need first are at the top, lessening the amount of stuff that gets soaked and making the going home meltdowns endured for as short a time as possible.
Step 6: Have fun swimming!
Step 7: Take them in the hot tub for a couple minutes before you shower. This helps them to mellow out. It used to be the only time we would get cuddles from Callahan! He would be ready to fall asleep within 2 minutes. Plus you deserve some time in a hot tub.
Step 8: When showering the kids, use a “sleepy time” soap to help them have a big long nap or ease into bedtime. Do not attempt showering yourself. You can shower at home in peace, once they are asleep.
Step 9: Dry your arms, face, and chest to keep from getting them wet every time you dry them. Get them changed and in their shoes, then give them the snack/toy. Quickly slip back into your dress (your choice on whether you wear your wet swimsuit home or not).
In the summer I’ve just dried myself while still wearing my swimsuit, put my dress over-top and gone home. In the winter, I usually take it off and slip the dress on (minus undergarments because that’s unnecessary fuckery). Wear a jacket and BAM! No one knows you’re not actually dressed like a lady. Putting on a bra while you’re still kinda wet/sticky from the humidity is a pain in the ass. So why bother?!
Flip flops are key here too because then you don’t have to wear socks and do the one foot hopping routine to keep them dry. If its snowing, I’d recommend boots, but also, don’t bother with socks. I’d prefer to be cold for a few minutes on the way home, than attempt looking put together with my kid running around the change room like a madman.
Step 10: Go home and enjoy nap time. (hopefully)
-Get a bag big enough that you can fit everything into just the one bag.
-Pack light. If you’re going straight to the pool and straight home, you don’t need to look like a million bucks, and your clothes can be less bulky. And you definitely don’t need more than one toy or snack. Get that shit all in one bag!
-Kids are slippery when wet. They are jacked to go swimming, and then they are tired miserable bastards when you’re trying to get changed and go home. Prepare yourself. I highly recommend going with someone else so that you can take turns. A 2:1 ratio of adults to kids is ideal. But another mom friend is good because then you can both be in the same change room and take turns corralling children while the other mom gets changed.
-The family change room always has a humidity level 3 billion times that of the women’s or men’s change rooms. I don’t know why, so for now I’ll enjoy using the women’s change room until Callahan is too old and we’re forced to use the family change room.
-You’re going to be bagged too, so try to nap if they are napping. You deserve it.
So there you have it, a no BS pool routine from a mom that prefers to use the word “efficient” instead of “lazy”.