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Winter wonderland

When the snow queen arrives, of course she takes her whole entourage with her: wind, frost, snowflakes, blizzard, and ice. So what, if she has arrived? We are not bears to hide in a cave and wait for spring to come. I also sure many would like to do exactly that. One famous Serbian poet, Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj, wrote a poem to explain to children that they should not be afraid of winter: Winter, winter – so what if you are here … What can you do to me? Nowadays, I actually think this poem is intended more for us, parents, moms and dads.

Are winter, rain, or wind excuses really good enough to justify what we dislike doing, to get out of our winter comfort and warm beds? I agree that some people prefer summer, hot weather and swimming, and those enjoying winter wonders. On the other hand, there are those who believe we shouldn’t be swimming in winter because it’s cold… OK, yes, it’s cold! So how can we dress our kids so much that they cannot move, and then take them skiing, sleigh riding, snowball fighting… It’s cold and they may get ill! Even when we take them to a playroom, to visit their friends or to the cinema, we still make them wear layers of clothes, don’t we? Anyhow, that’s what I do with my kids. We can actually do exactly the same and take them to the swimming pool, so they can swim and strengthen their immunity.

That’s why this activity should not be limited only to summer months, as it’s usually the case in Serbia, but try and go swimming throughout the year. Fortunately, thanks to many sports centres (although we could do with a bit more of those), spas and hotels, that is doable in almost all parts of Serbia.

For example, when I am with my family in Novi Sad in winter (but also often during summer), I like going to the swimming pools with thermal water such as the one in Vrdnik, in Fruska Gora. I make my family and even my best friends (and I have quite a number of those) to go, at least once a month, for a morning swim instead of meeting them at home and allowing our kids to run and chase each other around the house. It is very difficult to make yourself even get up early on Sunday morning, let alone go swimming in winter. But, believe me, it’s worth every second! While our kids play in a small swimming pool, we enjoy chatting to each other until our fingers and toes wrinkle in the water. I am also very thrilled to see my former basketball play mates, who I don’t see often, that they also manage to get themselves out of their warm beds and bring their families to the swimming pool.

OK, so what to do after the swimming pool, it’s cold and it’s winter, most of you would probably say: The children will get out in the cold weather and their heads are still wet, they will get ill… Actually, they may only get a running nose, but the same thing would happen when we see them running in the snow or at the playroom, and then we take them outside to go to the car. We can always find an excuse. Therefore, we should be more organised, and prepare all necessary equipment, for before, during and after the swimming pool, the night before. That’s the way I do it, oops, actually my wife!

So, what do you need to take to the swimming pool in winter:

  • To go into the swimming pool, you will need: swimming shorts/costume or swimming diapers, flip flops, potentially goggles too. I always put on the swimming shorts to them at home, so I don’t waste time in the, often crowded, changing rooms. Then it’s easier to just undress them and get them straight into the swimming pool.

  • To play with your children at the swimming pool: depending on their age, but I would always advise bringing some rubber toys. Not the balls, as they are forbidden at most swimming pools, as they can disturb other swimmers

  • To warm them up between two swims: towel, water, some light biscuits (those that are not too crumbly) or a banana, but also baby wipes so they can wipe their hands and mouths

  • For the shower: shower gel or shampoo, towel, plastic bag for the wet swimming shorts

  • To dress them after swimming: hairdryer, comb, baby lotion, underwear, socks, vest, hat and of course the clothes they came in… I always tend to have a spare pair of socks or an extra vest as they always step on a wet tile or spill water over themselves.

  • While they are waiting for you to get dressed: give them tea, water, or their favourite juice… Of course, some will ask for your smartphone with their favourite cartoons or games, so charge your batteries!

Now you are ready!

Trust me, winter is beautiful, especially being observed from a warm swimming pool!

Therefore, do not hesitate, go for a dip!


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