Hi everyone! Caitlin here on the blog this week to share with you about my experience at swimming lessons with my toddler, Aileen!
I originally started writing about this after our spring swimming lessons, which ended around the same time the shutdown due to Covid19 started in our province.
Now, as we move into the fall, many extracurricular activities are restarting with a ‘new normal’. In the coming weeks, Aileen and I will be starting her next level of swim lessons, with smaller classes, no physical contact with the instructor, and time limits in the change room.
This means we have to make our time at the pool as safe and efficient (in terms of getting in and out) as possible, while still hopefully enjoying this special activity that we both love so much as a way to stay healthy both physically and mentally.
While my family is choosing to join these activities again, with safety precautions, each family needs to carefully consider what is right for them. I hope some of these tips can help you create a safe transition to this new world, as we all try to do what's best for our families.
Swimming lessons are a great way to spend time having fun and bonding with your little, and there are tons of benefits to early exposure to water and water safety. At least in the early years, it is usually a fairly inexpensive activity too, so I highly recommend it to all my mom friends.
Getting your little one ready and too the pool can seem like a lot of work, but once you are there I promise it is so worth the fun and bonding time! Here are my tips to make your trip to the pool a little easier.
Swimsuits and Pool bags
First off, let’s talk about swimsuits. If you’re child isn’t potty trained you’ll want to use a swim diaper either under the swim suit, or instead of bottoms. Swim diapers contain poop, unlike swimsuits which would let any solids make a mess of the pool!
Did you know Lil Helper recently released an improved swim diaper!? The new swim diapers are made out of swimsuit material rather than PUL which allows water to pass through more easily without any solids (aka the dreaded pool poop) escaping.
Aileen wearing the same swim diaper almost a year apart. Just like Lil Helper diapers the swim diapers have long lasting fit so you don’t have to worry about buying new as your child grows!
Next, your bag. When heading out for some wet and wild fun with your little, you need to consider how you are going to carry your swimsuits and towels when they are both fry and wet. The Lil Helper Dry/Wetbag is the ideal bag for swimming lessons. You can fit everything you need in the dry side and all your wet stuff and towels in the wet side afterwards!
But I also recommend bringing a spare reusable tote, especially if you are taking lessons in the winter - a little extra room just helps make everything easier to juggle.
Packing for Swimming Lessons
So what should you pack in your bag for the pool? Here is my list:
- Underwear for afterwards
- Spare change for getting a locker
- 1 towel
- Extra socks
- 1 spare swim diaper and swim shirt for little, plus wipes
- 1 clean diaper for afterwards
- Wet bag if you aren’t already packing everything in a wet/dry bag!
I think I learned a lesson on what to pack each time we went. I blame mom brain, but I always forgot something! I hope this list helps you avoid some of my swimming lesson mistakes.
Underwear for afterwards (for you)
To save time at the pool, I usually wear my swimsuit under my clothes on the way there. This helps when you have a toddler with you who is impatient to get going! But beware - don’t forget you will want something dry afterwards!
Spare change for getting a locker
Most public pools offer lockers to rent for $0.50 to $1.00. I always bring my phone and car keys in with me, so I like having that security when leaving my belongings in a public place. Check online or call your local pool ahead of time to find out how much change you need.
At least for my toddler and I, I found that sharing a towel saved us space in our bag, and drying off and packing up is such a quick process, you probably don’t need two.
Aileen proudly carries our towel to the car after her swimming lessons.
This is perhaps my most out-there recommendation but an important one! Most public pools require no outside shoes past a certain point and the first time we took off our shoes but left on our socks - which got soaked once we stepped in the change room! Save yourself the barefoot trip home and bring a spare, or leave your socks tucked in with your shoes at the entrance.
Snacks (for us it was usually granola bars - something easy!)
My little was a snack machine after our swimming lessons! And bonus, this usually kept her occupied long enough for me to get changed in peace as well. Keep your little busy so they don’t crawl out of the stall while you are half undressed!
1 spare swim diaper and swim shirt for little, plus wipes
Just in case the dreaded pool poop happens to you! It would be a shame to have to leave early.
1 Clean diaper for after
Getting warm and dry is key after swim lessons. I always change my little first so her lip doesn’t start quivering and once I had to put her back in her diaper she came in - thankfully it was Lil Helper charcoal so it still felt dry!
Wet bag if you need it
Don’t forget your things will be wet afterward. Protect what you packed with a wet bag. Lil Helper has large and small options but I find the dry/wetbag is the perfect size for swimming lessons. I’m able to carry all our dry stuff in the front and our wet things fit in the large pocket at the end.
Even on the days when I forgot something, our swimming lessons were still a wonderful time. It is a great opportunity to spend time with your child without any distractions, and will hopefully build a lifelong love of water and fitness for your little.
What else do you like to do to bond with your babies and toddlers? Share down below!