I’ve been a toddler swim mom for about seven months now! My 21-month-old toddler is learning in the water by leaps and bounds. This article is about packing swimming essentials for toddlers.
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So, packing for swim lessons is pretty important. Forgetting even one item, like a towel, can be pretty inconvenient, especially when you’re soaking wet after a lesson with nothing to dry off with.
When we started lessons, I wasn’t really sure what to pack, so I would pack everything. That was a bit overkill.
Now that we are in a good groove with swimming lessons and attend weekly, I find that packing the swim bag takes a few minutes. So, this is my take on swimming essentials for toddlers.
My toddler’s swim lessons are 30 minutes long, which is a good amount of time for a toddler. Our swim facility comes equipped with changing rooms, an open shower area with shampoo and body wash, and bathrooms.
- Related reading: If you’re on the fence about children’s swimming lessons
Swimming essentials for toddlers
This is what we pack in our swimming bag right now. I would say that these are the absolute swimming essentials for toddlers going to a swim class.
- Swimming suit
- Reusable swim diaper
- Disposable swim diaper
- Regular diaper (to put on after class)
- Shampoo and body wash (if your swim facility doesn’t have this already)
- Small snack (for the ride home)
- Sippy cup (or vessel of your choice) of water
- Swim or diaper big with lots of side pockets
If you want to take the bare minimum to a toddler swimming class, you would only need items 1 through 4 to swim. This assumes that your toddler will change out of and back into the clothes they wear to swim class.
Right now, my daughter is not potty trained. So, if you do have a potty trained toddler, you can nix the reusable and disposable swim diapers.
I include reusable and disposable swim diapers because our swim facility requires them for the tot classes. They explain over and over again in the contract that parents will be held responsible for the cleanup and sanitization of the entire pool if a kid poops in the water.
Mommy and me swim classes
Since my daughter does not swim on her own yet, we’re in a class where the parents join the toddlers in the pool.
When I’m in the pool with her for thirty minutes, I enjoy our time together. It’s a wonderful time and I get to see her progress firsthand.
The worst part for me is trying to change myself and my toddler in a small changing room after a swim lesson, while lugging around the swim bag and towels. Oh, I forgot showering and telling my daughter not to run everywhere.
Sometimes, it might include calming my daughter down from a tantrum because she still wants to swim after the class is over. Yeah, it’s not fun.
Here are my suggestions to make mommy and me swim lessons easier for you and your toddler.
- Wear your swimming suit to the class under loose fitting clothes.
- Pack your own towel.
- Pack a bra.
- Wear open-toe slide-on sandals or shoes. I personally like my Adidas slides for swimming, even in the winter.
- After the lesson, change your toddler first, then yourself.
I’ve learned all of these suggestions the hard way. When we first started, I took one towel for both my toddler and myself. Shakes my head. Two towels for each of you is much better.
I try to keep it minimal, so I only pack my towel, a bra, my cellphone, and the car keys in the swim bag. Instead of underwear, I just throw on my sweats or leggings and go commando for the ride home. It’s one less step in the multi-step process of changing your toddler after swim class.
I definitely learned the hard way the one time that I decided to change my toddler after myself. She inevitably started running around in her swimming suit on a very wet floor, slipped, and fell on the back of her head.
So, I always change her first and make sure she is dry and has some grippy shoes. This is mostly for her safety. Then, I can start changing myself, wring out swim suits, and pack up the swim bag.
We don’t go outdoor swimming too often but when we do, here are some additional items to pack for your toddler.
Outdoor swimming essentials for toddlers
- Beach towel
- Water shoes
- Swim cover
- Waterproof bags
Here are some outdoor swimming options for toddlers from Amazon.
Toddler bodily functions and lessons learned
What if your toddler poops during a swim lesson? Full disclosure, we have experienced this.
As soon as I saw my daughter making her poop-time facial expressions, I told the swim instructor she was about to poop and pulled her out of the water.
Of course, she had already pooped. It happens really fast. Thankfully, the disposable and reusable swim diapers, on top of each other, held everything in.
I’ve never been so grateful for those diapers. All I had to do was change her and throw away the disposable swim diaper.
The other snafu we had was wearing the swim diaper in the car seat on the drive to the swim facility. My husband thought he was being smart by putting our toddler in her full swim outfit at home.
It would have been a great idea if my daughter didn’t pee all over the car seat. You see, the swim diapers are actually porous. They don’t suck up the moisture of pee like regular diapers. They are only meant to hold in solid chunks of poop.
Final thoughts on swimming essentials for toddlers
I hope this article served you well as a “start-up guide” to packing a swim bag for toddlers and tips for toddler swim parents. Once you get the hang of packing swimming essentials for toddlers, it becomes second nature.
What are some tips you have for toddler swim moms? Comment below!