Ask a parent what’s their least favourite activity to do with their kids and you’ll usually get a resounding chorus of “swimming lessons”. It’s all the getting dressed you see. And the wetness. And the heat in the dressing room as you try to dress one child and argue with another over how long he’s taking in the shower with the queue forming behind him as he sings at the top of his voice.
Swimming lessons are a necessary part of a child’s life. But let’s face it, they are hell.Standing in the rain and mud on the sideline of a GAA pitch on a Saturday morning has nothing on wrestling wet and hungry children out of togs and into clothes and shoes after day of school.
We’ve been doing swimming lessons weekly since the Spring and after a stressful first term we got a routine going.
- If possible get them into their swimsuits at home so they just need to undress and get into the pool when you arrive.
- Arrive in plenty of time. A child who sees their group already in the pool when they arrive is very likely to slip on the way in (and wail).
- Give each child a separate bag with their underwear, googles, hat and towel- nothing fancy, a plastic bag for life with the child’s name written on it is perfect. (Kudos to a teacher at my sons’ school for this one).
- Bring spare underwear and socks, even if they wear some going in. It’s just easier.
- If anyone has”sock issues” let them wear crocs without socks for the 2 minutes between pool and car regardless of the weather.
- Bring water, for them afterwards and for you waiting, poolside is always roasting.
- Bring snacks. Ram a cereal bar into their mouths as soon as they have clothes on. Not really, but they will be ravenous and you have to negotiate the car park still.
- Have a massive dinner pre-prepared for when you get home, swimming day is casserole day.
- Every week as soon as they exit the laundry cycle pack the clean towel, and dry togs and hat back into the bag and leave the googles, shampoo/shower gel in the bags from week to week so on swthere’s nothing missing on swimming day.
- Buy different coloured goggles for each child. Or ignore this advice and watch them fight over whose are whose and how they need to be adjusted.
- Remember, if things are really getting too much for you you can always skip a week. And so can the kids.