13 April 2016

How to have a great trip to the swimming pool with toddlers

Here are my top tips on how to have a successful swimming pool trip with young children. When my daughter was a baby we swam often. We even did a baby swimming course, which was a huge help in building her (an our) confidence. We have recently got back in to swimming again, and oh boy does she love it! As we have been swimming a fair bit recently, I thought I'd share a few tips and tricks for how to have a great trip to the swimming pool with toddlers, such as what to pack and how to get them to love swimming. 

Please note, this post is written in collaboration with Trunki. 



trunki paddlepak spike the blowfish backpack


Our swimming bag is PaddlePak, a new water resistant bag from Trunki. My daughter loves her new fishy bag - and what's not to love? Brightly coloured, cute designs ranging from frogs to octopi, and comfortable to wear with the padded back and straps.

And mummy loves it too, as it keeps the water out, and water in (important with post-swim soggy towels!) and ensures she is not the only Sherpa around...


what to pack for toddlers for swimming

what to pack for toddler swimming

trunki paddlepak crab purse



trunki washbag jellyfish

packing trunki paddlepak spike the blowfish backpack



We packed our Spike the Blowfish Paddlepak for our swimming trip with:
  • Reusable swimming nappy (just in case!)
  • Swimming costume
  • Hooded towel
  • Jellyfish Washbag with baby soap and shampoo
  • Snacks and water
  • Crab Purse and coins for an after-swim babyccino!

That was our daughter sorted, and she was able to carry all her stuff in her own bag. We of course had our own adult bag as well.


trunki paddlepak spike the blowfish backpack


Here are a few swimming tips based on my own experiences at the pool!

When my daughter was a baby, she was quite unsure of the water. After we went on the baby swimming course it was quickly apparent that she was taking her scaredy-cat cues from us... Every time she would get water on her face or cough and splutter, we were immediately terrified, looking at her anxiously, thinking she was about to drown.

Lots of positive encouragement while feeling safe
Once we made a conscious effort of looking happy and smiley, and give her verbal encouragement when mishaps happened, she became more sure of herself. Other helpful tips are to keep your baby / toddler facing you, and holding them close. And every once in a while extend your arms and pull them back again with lots of positive encouragement so they get used to being physically away from you in water. 

Getting used to water on the face
To get them used to water on their face, you should count (out loud!) to three, say their name, breath in, and trickle a bit of water on their face. Keep repeating this sequence every once in a while, eventually increasing the amount of water to a great big splash, and even dunking them once they are ready. They will learn that once they hear "one, two, three" and their name, they have to hold their breath! 

With toddlers you can also try teach them to blow in the water, first just above the water, then mouth in the water and eventually the whole face in the water. We haven't managed to get to a full face yet, but we are trying!

Getting excited about swimming!
I find one surefire way of getting your kids excited about things is to let them choose their own equipment. So for swimming, you could try letting them choose their own swimming costume, or their own swimming bag. My daughter chose a bright yellow Spike the Blow Fish Paddlepak for her swim bag and is always excited about packing her bag for a swimming trip.

Other great things to spice the swimming up a bit are other swimming accessories, like goggles or swimming toys. We usually just bring a bath duck, that works as well as a toy!

I have also found that getting them out of the pool can sometimes be as difficult as getting them into the pool... Once they get the hang of it they don't want to leave! A promise of a nice babyccino, or perhaps hot chocolate in the cafe always does the trick though, ha ha.






trunki paddlepak spike the blowfish backpack

Enter here to win a Paddlepak of your choice, and accessories (Washbag and Purse). The exact models are subject to availability. UK entrants only. And if you are keen, there is a daily entry and a daily tweet!



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70 comments:

  1. Baby towel ponchos are a must buy!

    Find out your local pool’s policy on swim nappies – your baby will be asked to wear a paper or reusable swim nappy, and in many cases, an over nappy. Normal nappies are not acceptable in a pool and will just inflate! You may like to consider a wetsuit too.

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  2. confidence is key ... your tips about face in the water are spot on!

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  3. Start swimming lessons early so they get used to the water!

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  4. Make it fun and children will love the water.

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  5. Build up water confidence, my older kids love splashing around, jumping in and swimming under the water, Also start them young!

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  6. Get them started early, its an essential skill

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  7. Go swimming as a family and have fun.

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  8. Start young. We did a term of swimming lessons to give me confidence swimming with a baby, now I just take him whenever I can. He loves the water because he's been used to it from an early age

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  9. Starting young, speak to Midwife, Health Visitor, GP ( General Practitioner) and staff at Swimming pool. As Health and Safety are important aspects. Plan ahead and have all relevant equipment :- swim wear, floatation aids etc.

    It is a good idea to book a session of lessons when appropriate. Enjoy! Have fun and stay safe.

    Rachel Craig

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  10. lots of patience and remembering not all children will grasp it the same

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  11. Lots of fun and lots of encouragement.

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  12. Start young, go on a regular basis and have lots of fun.xx

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  13. make sure they are comfortable and having fun

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  14. be patient and dont make it a chore, keep it fun.

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  15. That looks a great swim bag. Is it one or two inner compartments? My top tip is confidence and fun #TriedTested

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    1. It is! It has one compartment, and it has a small zipped pouch for keys or coins in the tail as well (I think all the models have that, but it might be located on another part depending on the model).

      And yep, confidence is probably the most important thing!

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  16. Looks like plenty of space in those fun coloured backpacks #TriedTested

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  17. make it fun and take your little one to see the pool before you take them swimming as its a strange place, let them feel confident in the building before the pool, I took mine to the viewing area first

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  18. I don't really have any tips as I have just started taking my son. I tend to go at his pace and if he wants to try to swim I encourage him. I am going to enrol him into a crash course of lessons in the next half term so hopefully that will get him on his way :) x

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  19. Have fun and wear the relevant swim wear

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  20. Give them lots of praise to build their confidence

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  21. Start them early so they enjoy the water.

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  22. We love our Paddlepak. Such a great size of kids to carry their own swimming gear.
    Thanks for sharing your review on #TriedTested this week x

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  23. Star young and don't be too strict with them. Make it into a fun trip instead of a lesson.

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  24. Start swimming early, I started taking my son at 3 months of age every week and now at 2 he is unbelievably confident and happy in the water. Also use toys and special play sessions at the swimming pools.

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  25. Don't get bogged down on making them swim - if they want to just splash about, let them. It'll improve their confidence in the water until they're ready to move forward.

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  26. If your having lessons don't miss any and make it fun you could even make new friends

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  27. Make it fun, character arm bands etc. Grandson had these and he loves his swimming

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  28. I got my son started early and he loves it

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  29. Introduce them to water at a young age, don't force them to do anything they are not happy about and have fun

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  30. @FCWedding on twitter
    Pack everything you think you might possibly need and stuff you think you don't!
    Lots of food and drinks, toys, different costumes in case the change their mind in the changing room and tons of patience.

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  31. I totally agree with the other comments on be confident and take it at their pace but a big tip has been forgotten, don't forget a drink and snack for afterwards. Swimming takes a lot of energy and we all know how cranky little ones are when their hungry. I take some fruit and a few biscuits for my son to munch on once he's dry, it also gives me 5 mins peace to get myself dry and dressed without a melt down.

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  32. Try and take them from the baby stage, even though it can be a hassle at times and try to take them on a regular basis.

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  33. Start young and Practice as often as possible.
    Great comp.too.

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  34. Start young at least once a week

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  35. Start them as early as possible

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  36. Teach them the safety rules for being in swimming pools

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  37. IMy mother was scared of water and passed that fear on to me - so give your children confidence and start them swimming as early as possible

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  38. Take it slowly and let them splash around and enjoy it

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  39. Teach them about safety and get lessons when young

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  40. Kayleigh Parker12 May 2016 at 02:24

    Get them used to water in their eyes in the bath as splashing in the pool and it going in their eyes puts them off wanting to learn as they are too scared of the water going in their faces. Just have fun make it a activity not a chore

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  41. have fun, if it becomes a swimming lesson the child will not enjoy it.keep it fun and it can be a great bonding experience

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  42. make it fun and praise them when they do well

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  43. Margaret Abram12 May 2016 at 10:01

    Treat it as a fun thing to do. My granddaughter is terrified of swimming now, because her other grandmother was so over anxious about her going in the water.

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  44. Start them early and build confidence

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  45. make it fun, being confident and happy in the water is half the battle

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  46. Show them how confident you are and they should do the same.

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  47. Get them used to going swimming from a very young age

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  48. Pauline Burroughs12 May 2016 at 16:03

    Start early and make it fun

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  49. Go swimming as often as you can and make sure you enjoy it.

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  50. Chuck them in and see if they float, lol

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  51. To make them feel confident in water even at home.

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  52. ashley whitbread12 May 2016 at 20:40

    We have just started swimming lessons wiht my 2 year old, and he loved his first one last week1 was a bit clingy at first but once he got comfy he had a ball!! cant wait to go back this week! <3 x

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  53. Claire Elizabeth Noke12 May 2016 at 21:25

    don't be afraid, practice makes perfect and have lots of patience :)

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