Toddler Time at Tandy:
Swim Season Never Ends!
The kids are back in school, the neighborhood pool is closed for the season, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back at Starbucks. The temperatures may still be in the 90s in Oklahoma, but fall is in the air, for those of us that are optimists at least. Yet, that doesn’t mean swim season is over. Swim season is never over for water lovers. My grandson, Callister, has made a lot of progress in the water, and although I won’t pretend he’s ready to conquer the English Channel quite yet, he’s becoming more and more comfortable in the water. How do we keep that going until the pools open next June?
For us, the answer is toddler time at the Tandy YMCA pool Mondays through Fridays from 9-11 AM. Toddler time is for children age 6 months to 4 years and their parents/caregivers. Yes, you do need to be a member, but memberships are very affordable and operate on a sliding scale based on income. Before you quit reading and think it’s not affordable, please check out the Memberships for All program, which offers scholarships for those who qualify. When I was a single mom with two young kids, they worked with me to make it financially possible for us to join. The Y is a great resource for families.
There are so many water features kids love!
When the Tandy Y was renovated 3 years ago, they created a fantastic toddler area in the leisure pool. There is a beach entry, and the water is shallow for a long way into the pool, never going beyond four feet. There are numerous water features that are age-appropriate and fascinate the kids. There are fountains and water tables, mushrooms with waterfalls to get under, spouts of water, a wheel they can turn that makes an umbrella “rain,” and a bucket that fills and then dumps water on anyone under it. For the brave, there is a lazy river that will take you around and around until someone (me) is dizzy. There is a strong current. Callister says, “It’s scary,” yet he wants to go again and again.
The lazy river is a fun feature.
The Y does have a good collection of life jackets available for all sizes of children. I highly recommend you take advantage of this. While we were there last time, we saw a young toddler get loose from her dad, run into the water and end up face down quickly. Her dad ran and got her, but it was a scary few seconds. Luckily that story had a happy ending, but remember, drownings happen quickly and silently and are the leading cause of accidental deaths in children under four. There are lifeguards, but it’s a big pool with a lot of activity; lifeguards can’t possibly be everywhere and see everything. Children need to be wearing a life jacket/puddle jumper, and your child should be within arms’ reach at all times.
Now that I’ve related the scary stuff, here are the benefits of taking your grandkids to swim year-round:
- They keep up their swim skills year-round, making them safer around water.
- They have fun with you and learn to love the water.
- Exercise for both of you!
- Time away from screens for both of you!
- Swimming is so tiring–makes for a long afternoon nap, yes, for both of us!
I love to swim, and sharing that love with my grandson is a joy. It makes for a fun morning outing, one which we usually follow with a trip to Old School Bagel. Swimming definitely works up an appetite! They don’t have pumpkin spice lattes, but they have the best coffee and bagels in town, the perfect post-swim treat!