Spring is almost here, summer’s coming soon! Spring break trips are right around the corner! Here are some helpful tips for a smooth transition back into the pool both at home and on vacation:
Everyone starts getting excited about swim season right around spring break. It really is the best way for children to get several hours of exercise without even knowing it. To them, it’s all fun and games. As soon as the weather stays in the mid-70‘s for a few weeks, people start getting ready to turn on their pools and get going. Here are some tips for a smooth transition after the ‘cold’ winter LA months:
- Do a test run with your pool heater and pump. Often after a winter of no use, pool heaters need to be serviced, pumps replaced, filters cleaned or fixed. It’s always better to do it before you have a group of excited children ready to dive in, only to find that your pool is 74 degrees and the pump isn’t working.
- Remember that initially, it takes several days for a pool to heat up. Once your pool is at a temperature that you like, you can either maintain that temp or drop it back to a reasonable 80 or 82 so getting it back up to where you want it only takes a couple of hours.
- Assume your swimmers have regressed. With the exception of children above age 6, most children forget a variety of their skills for the first couple of days. Younger ones (2-5) may even forget that they can swim! Don’t be alarmed, this is perfectly normal and with a few practice runs or some refresher lessons, they will be up to speed in no time.
- Don’t forget your older kids too. Even though they are water safe, have been swimming for years, they will be going to camp (often sleep-away), end of school swim parties, beach activities, etc. It’s a good idea to have them brush up on their skills as well and even make some refinements with technique. (Until age 11 or 12, technique should be the #1 focus for lessons.)
- Check your deck. Pool covers, gates, decks themselves… there may be wear and tear and often decks need some tiles or concrete areas replaced. Look for sharp, jutting edges in the tiles.
- Resurfacing. For some pools, after a few years, the pool itself needs to be resurfaced. This is when the smooth bottom becomes rough and sandpapery, causing abrasions and general discomfort. You’ll know right away if you need it done. It takes a few weeks to complete the process; draining the pool, resurfacing, letting it dry, refilling, treating, heating.
- Trim the trees. Believe it or not, this is a biggie. It is lovely to have lush foliage around the pool area, but often leaves, flowers or seeds will fall right into the pool, clogging the drains, causing the pump to back up which shuts it down and turns off the heat. You can solve this problem by having a retractable cover on the pool but in general, trimming back a bit before the season hits helps tremendously.
If you’re planning a spring break trip someplace warm where swimming will be a main daytime activity, here are some tips for pool re-entry for little ones who may not get time to practice before you go:
- Bring some of their familiar pool or bath toys plus get a few new ones. (Rings, diving sticks, floating squeezy toys.) Obviously, don’t bring anything you wouldn’t mind losing while you’re there.
- Bring goggles if they wear them – never buy them on vacation in hotels – they are usually twice the price and half the quality. I like the Finis or TYR brands, junior sized, but whatever type your child is comfortable with is fine.
- If they are very young swimmers (under the age of 5), bring their floatie! Although I normally am against using floaties, on vacation all bets are off as safety and enjoyment are the top priorities and your excited child may have forgotten how to swim temporarily but certainly won’t have forgotten how much they love the water.
- Practice some basic skills on vacation if they seem eager to try it but don’t force the issue if they don’t. You may be thinking, ‘he was swimming across the pool last summer! Why doesn’t he want to leave the steps now?’ And that answer is simply that at young ages, children are very much creatures of habit and they often think they can only swim in their own pool, with their instructor or maybe just one parent in particular. It will pass quickly but they may be step huggers during vacation and that’s completely fine too.
- Squeeze in a few refresher lessons if you can before you go. This will simply make your trip more enjoyable and may kick the swim skills right back into place.
Whatever the case may be, hope this helps! We can’t wait to see all your wonderful children back in the pool super soon!