Some months back, we posted about the sports classes we felt were best suited to young children, to help them develop good motor and survival skills. Swimming was one of the sports on our list. As our 4.5-year-old (nicknamed Barnacles) tends to have sensitive airways, we also try to take the opportunity to bring him swimming on weekends when we can, as we believe this is a good way to help him strengthen his lungs.
As a family with two kids, no matter how minimalist we try to be, packing a family bag for swimming is almost always a bulky affair. We end up lugging a huge bag with all our swim gear, towels, toiletries and changes of clothes. Both our children take swimming classes and, as we want them to enjoy their classes, we also looked for gear that they would enjoy wearing while learning to swim. Of course, there is also the added challenge of how best to organise the bag to make stuff easy to retrieve as well as pack.
Here are our favourite items used for swimming and how we organise them:
At the pool:
1. Swim gear
As our kids take swimming classes in a heated indoor pool, we use normal lycra swimsuits for them without thermal function. However, we prefer to dress them in thermal neoprene swimsuits when we take them to swim in the outdoor pools as even though Singapore weather may be warm, we find that young children lose heat fast and tend to feel cold if they spend too long in the big swimming pool. For kids who still feel cold even in a thermal swimsuit, we also learned a new ‘trick’ to keep kids warmer – wear two layers with a fitting lycra swimsuit below, with a thermal swimsuit on top. Life racer is one of the recommended brands of thermal swimwear and can be found at Kiddy Palace.
2. Swim diapers
Even though we try to save the environment where we can, we were not too keen to use re-useable swim diapers for our 21-month-old (nicknamed Kwazii) when he first started swimming, as we did not want to be stuck scrubbing runny breastfed poo off reusable swim diapers. What we did was to dress him in a double layer with a disposable swim diaper underneath and a reusable swim diaper on top, to catch any mess. Now that he is older, we sometimes alternate the disposable diaper with the reusable swim diaper.
We tried several brands of goggles for Barnacles but found that those with rubber head straps were painful to put on, and tended to slide down the back of the head, making it uncomfortable on the ears. We then found ‘Frogglez’ which have a double neoprene head strap and fit much better on the eyes. Sadly, while we have found that these are not currently available in Singapore stores, we have discovered that Mothercare also sells goggles with a single neoprene head strap. This type of strap is much more comfortable for the child than the usual rubber straps as it does not pull on the hair and is much easier to put on.
After the Swim:
4. Shampoo and conditioner
One of the issues we found when giving the kids a bath after swimming was the lack of a shelf to put our bottles of shampoo and conditioner. We purchased travel suction silicone bottles which you can stick to the wall, making bath time a breeze. We got ours from Amazon (that has free shipping to Singapore for orders over $125). We also use large hooks that we purchased from Daiso to hang all the wet swim gear on, instead of throwing them in a heap on the floor.
5. Wet bags and towels
So, what do you do with all the wet swim gear and towels after a bath? We love our large towels, which we purchased from Decathlon, that roll up small with an elastic band to keep them rolled up. We got cheap wet bags from Qoo10 but realised that with cheap prices sometimes comes not so good quality. They are not fully watertight so we often use a plastic bag inside the wet bag to prevent leaks. Next time, we’ll probably pay a bit more to get one that serves its purpose better. Kangacare wet bags would be our next choice.
6. Organising everything
So how do we put everything in? We use a big duffel Jujube bag, with a structured car organiser inside (repurposed for swimming duty, as it couldn’t fit between our two kids’ car seats!) to give the bag a bit of structure and make things easier to find. We find it easier to place all our items in one big bag rather than have to carry separate bags as we are more likely to forget one when we leave. We adopt the same principle when going out on other trips like picnics and days out – one bag as opposed to many. Makes it easier to chase after the kids, too!
Mummy and Daddy Daycare are the pseudonyms of a Singaporean husband and wife who are raising two young boys aged four and one, nicknamed Barnacles and Kwazii from the children’s Octonauts series. Get into the minds of this couple who describe parenthood as a lifetime adventure – you are always learning something new! Whoever said parenting was a walk in the park?
Other articles by Mummy and Daddy Daycare:
- Our favourite ways to snap, store and backup family photos
- Kuala Lumpur has something to offer the whole family
- How to be a stay-at-home parent and not lose your mind