Are you wanting to go swimming with kids this summer, but find yourself without additional help? Here are 5 tips to help you feel more confident in venturing to the pool with many small children!
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Please remember that I am a mom, not a life guard. If you do take your kids to the pool alone, you are still responsible for watching your children. None of the advice I give here alone will keep your children safe. You must be vigilant as any type of water sport can be dangerous.
You have the perfect swim suit, the perfect weather, and… no one to help you at the pool. Going to the pool can be tricky with many little kids. Trying to take multiple kids by yourself may sound insane, but it is completely doable. Let me share my tips with you!
Tip #1 Plan Ahead
When I say plan ahead, I mean really PLAN AHEAD! Each of the following tips hinge on planning ahead. Some tips require months of preparation, whereas the others are just as easy as grabbing something on your way out the door.
Tip #2 Swim Lessons
We started planning for this summer at the beginning of the year by enrolling our oldest four kids in swimming lessons. By enrolling in winter swim lessons, our kids were able to take multiple classes back to back to better improve their skills. We also were able to avoid the summer swim lessons rush and had nearly individualized lessons for each of our kids. All of these benefits combined resulted in my kids moving up multiple levels in a short period of time.
Ask around to find out where the best and most effective swim lessons are near you. There is a huge difference between expensive supervised splashing, and actually learning to swim.
Tip #3 Flotation Devices
We have tried many floatation devices over the years. Here’s the break-down of what we did and didn’t like:
These are not our favorites. My kids feel like the floaty rubs on their underarms. I also feel like my kids don’t get as much of a real swimming experience with these since in real life, your arms aren’t the most buoyant part of your body.
We have used many life vests over the years. They do keep the kids very safe, and with the head cushion, they are kept to float on their back, rather than face down. The downside we have seen to these is the inability to experience the swimming feeling. It is hard for kids to move their arms with the bulkiness of the life vest. The strap in between the legs can also chafe after extended use.
Hands down, these are our favorite types of suits! We have our kids wear a regular swim suit under this so that they can easily take it off when they are not in the pool anymore. It gives the kids all around floatation, while allowing their arms the freedom to move around. The kids learn to stay afloat by kicking, instead of just floating along resting on their backs. This suit requires constant supervision until the child is confident. Their face can easily go under water if they have not learned to properly float and kick.
Tip #4 Snacks
If you are wanting to get the best use out of all the effort you have put into getting your kids dressed, putting sunscreen on them, loading them all up, etc. bring snacks! We load up on a bunch of simple snacks and water bottles to help us last a little bit longer at the pool. Fresh fruit is one of our favorite treats to bring, especially for those who claim they aren’t thirsty.
Snacks also come in handy when the little kids are done swimming, but the big kids don’t want to leave yet. We can sit on the side of the pool and watch the big kids swim in the deeper water and keep everyone happy.
Tip #5 Patience
It will take many tries to get this right. Each time we have another kid, I make sure my husband comes with me a few times until I feel like I can manage on my own. As my kids have become more confident in the water, it becomes easier to manage them all in the pool. There have been times where we have only lasted an hour. There have been times where we haven’t even quite made it to the pool.
Have patience with yourself if everything doesn’t go smoothly. Be patient and wise in knowing when going to the pool solo just might be too much to handle. Your patience level as well as the temperaments and abilities of your children may not be the best combination at this point.
We are looking forward to hanging out at the pool frequently this summer. If you find yourself in a position where you might have to take your kids to the pool alone most days, plan ahead. Enroll your kids in swim lessons, and give yourself a trial run with help near by until you build up a routine that works for you! Grab some great floaties to help your kids feel confident in the water, pack lots of snacks, and be patient. Not every time will work perfectly, but when it does, you can have the time of your life. And, the best benefit of all: it wears your kids out and they sleep beautifully!
What tips do you have for swimming with kids?