Splash! Swimming in Indoor Pools

Dig out the kids' bathing suits and head for the pool this winter!

By FamilyTime

 Although the idea of diving into a pool may not appeal to you when the winter winds blow, indoor pools provide great recreational opportunities for the whole family.

One of the benefits of taking the kids to an indoor pool is that it offers a secure place for them to learn to swim -- an important part of any child's growing up -- and they are usually excited to take lessons if it means time in the water. When it's hot and sunny, kids may balk at the idea of formalized swimming lessons, but during the winter, when their schedules are proscribed by school and extra curricular activities, an hour of swimming lessons is an inviting diversion.

What to Bring
When you and the kids get ready to go to the pool, pack bathing suits and towels and any other paraphernalia, such as bathing caps, nose clips, and goggles, the kids might need.

Some indoor pools frown on items such as flippers and balls, so be sure you know the rules before you arrive over laden with stuff.

Remember that the air will be cold when you leave the pool, so bring along extra socks, underwear, and even a shirt in case the clothes your kids arrive in somehow land in a damp spot.

Pack a comb and hairbrush, too. The warm shower after the swim is a good time to encourage kids to shampoo their hair. If they swim frequently, invest in shampoo that is gentle on chlorine-damaged hair.

If the facility does not have hair dryers available, pack one so that no one goes outside with wet hair. If this is not possible, insist that everyone wear hats for the trip home.

Know the Rules
Pick up a schedule from the pool so that you know when you and the kids can stop by for free swims. The schedule will note when lessons are offered and when the pool is monopolized by water aerobic classes, senior swims, or local swim teams.

By design, the housing for indoor pools is cavernous and the air is moist and warm. This makes them noisy, slippery places. Be sure your children know not to run around the pool, and discourage overly loud play. The reverberating sound can be deafening.

Some pools have regularly scheduled adult-only swims. Make sure your kids understand this and will follow the lifeguards' instructions about vacating the pool or about anything else.

Most pools rope off lanes for those swimmers who want to swim laps or for swim team practices. Make sure your kids know, what parts of the pool are open for "free swim."

If the pool does not allow diving, make sure your kids understand this.

Join the Fun
Don't think of indoor swimming as kids' play. Join in the fun. This is a terrific way to have a good time with your kids.

Look into water-play lessons for toddlers and babies, too. You and your little ones will enjoy the watery interaction.

Swimming is beneficial exercise for everyone -- particularly good for those with sore joints or lower back pain. Check with your doctor before planning a swimming routine.

Where to Find a Pool
Local recreation departments, YMCA's, and community centers are good places to start your search for a pool.

Some schools and colleges also open their pools to the public on a limited basis -- so check out nearby universities and schools.

Once you find a pool, you'll find yourself spending more time there than you ever imagined. The good news is you don't need sunscreen!