Family vacations are usually busy with activities, sightseeing and more. But, another big component of vacationing in the summer in my family is spending time at the pool.



One of the reasons we love vacation rentals so much is because we can have our own private pool. With two small children, privacy is a big advantage. A hotel pool or public pool, for instance, doesn’t offer us the same unique opportunities to play with our kids freely without the worry of getting in the way of other guests. Mostly though, having a private pool is the safest way for us to keep an eye on the Littles while giving us some time for R&R.



Girls in Grandaddy's Pool summer 2011.jpgAny parent can attest lazy pool days aren’t quite as lazy once you have kids. If you’ve ever chased your toddler around a pool trying to rub her down with sunscreen, then you know what I’m talking about. However, Hubs and I both agree we have a lot more fun by the pool now that we have the Littles and there’s nothing we would trade that for.



We have also learned that a little structure can go a long way, so we fill our day with a good mix of games and break times to make sure the Littles don’t get too tired or lose interest. 



One of our favorite pool time activities is encouraging playful physical challenges like, “who can jump into the water the farthest” or “kick your legs like a froggy.” We’ve found this helps them develop new swimming skills and keeps them entertained. 



We also try to bring along a few pool accessories if there’s room in our suitcases. Inflatable items that pack flat are the best and luckily for us, Hubs has big lungs! If we’re road-tripping and have more room, we are huge fans of the PuddleJumper® floatation device. 



Also, even though they may fight the notion of getting out of the pool, we always make it a point to take a few small breaks throughout the day. Grabbing some shade under an umbrella or even going inside for a light snack keeps the Littles energized and ready for more summer fun! Plus, even though the kidlets may be full of pool water, we always make sure to keep them hydrated with actual water or a drink with electrolytes. Pool water, sun and hours of activity can easily dehydrate all of us.



Another thing that’s very important to me is sun protection. I grew up on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and both of my young parents have already had skin cancer spots removed; so I’m a little OCD on the sunscreen front.



Whether we’re playing at a pool or hiking in the mountains, we always pack plenty of sunscreen on our summer vacations since UV exposure is greatest from May-August in the United States.



The Environmental Working Group (EWG) offers an in-depth Sunscreen Guide that keeps parents up-to-date on all the latest guidelines and includes an extensive list of every sunscreen on the market with the EWG’s ranking of each one.


Here are some other good Sunscreen 101 tips:


  • Only use products labeled “Broad Spectrum,” meaning they protect against both harmful UVA rays and sunburn-causing UVB rays
  • You should apply sunscreen every 2 hours and more often if you’re exposed to extreme water or sports activity. Do not let higher SPF numbers give you a false sense as to how long the sun protection will last
  • Be generous in your applications. The recommended amount for an adult body is about the size of a shot-glass and a teaspoon for your face. Obviously this should be less for children, but make sure they’re adequately covered
  • Nothing provides better sunscreen than covering up with a long-sleeved shirt and hat. You can even add SPF to clothes or buy them with SPF already built in. To make your own, wash tightly woven cotton clothes in a UPF rinse, which can raise the SPF value up to a level of SPF 30.




When you travel with your family, how much time do you spend by the pool?


Have fun splashing into summer on your vacation this year! 


Khloe swimming.jpg



Diana Heather writes at She is also the Chief Mom, both at home to her two girls and at You can follow Diana on Twitter @ParentingsATrip.