If your child is still at an age in which regular naps are crucial for their development (and your peace of mind), it can be tricky to schedule activities around them. You also have to keep in mind the dreaded car nap when planning their schedules, since even a short catnap while you drive them from Point A to Point B can throw off their nap sleep routine for an entire day or two.
We all know that dealing with toddlers who haven’t slept, or are off their typical nap schedule, can be very challenging, so as you go about selecting the right swim class day and time for your little one, here are some rules of thumb to keep in mind.
Think Through Your Child’s Daily Sleep Habits
When you’re choosing a swim class for your child first think about the best time to nap for your child and their entire sleep schedule. When do they usually wake up? How many naps do they take, and when? What time do they fall asleep at night? If your little one is an early riser, you might do well with a 9:00 or 9:30 am swim class, but you could also fall prey to the dreaded car nap if they’ve been up for hours by this point.
Don’t choose a class that’s directly before a nap.
If you go with a class before a usual nap time, you increase the odds your little one will fall asleep in the car on the way home, and therefore get less quality sleep, sleep for a shorter period of time, or altogether refuse to nap at home later. Remember that your baby will be even more tired than normal when they leave class since they’ll have just exercised and played for 30 minutes.
Don’t choose a class that falls directly after a nap.
On the flip side, if you go with a class after their nap, you risk your infant being groggy in class. Or, they could be irritable if you’ve had to cut the nap short to make it to class on time.
The Best Time for Swim Class
So in an ideal scenario, you’d bring your child to swim class an hour or two after they awaken in the morning, or an hour or two after their afternoon nap.
Keep Them Engaged on the Ride
While you might have an idea in mind about the best time to nap for your baby, you never know when it might be the case that baby refuses to nap or baby takes short naps throughout the day more so than normal. If any of these situations happen, your best bet is to keep your little one awake in the car, going to and from swim class.
One way to do this is by engaging them in conversation if they’re old enough. Ask questions about what they’re most excited to do in swim class, or if they just finished class, ask what they liked best about it. Pose open-ended questions so they have to think about the answer. If your child is too young to talk, try playing upbeat music or songs that are made for toddlers since silly lyrics and noises usually interest little ears. If this still doesn’t work, bring along a snack and/or a book or toy that will keep their hands and minds busy - and hopefully keep them awake.
If It’s Not Working, Change It
Once you decide on the best swim class day and time for your child, we recommend giving it a try for a full month. Get into the groove of your child’s routine, with their swimming lesson as a part of it, and see how it goes. If you have one ‘off’ day, that could just be an abnormality. But if your little one’s naps are consistently getting off track on their swim class day, you might need to try a different schedule.
At Hubbard Swim School, we’re always flexible and happy to change your child’s enrollment as needed if it will help them enjoy class more and make your life easier. You’ll never know exactly how swimming at a certain time will affect your child, so be intentional about what class you choose and then give it a trial period. And if you need to change it up, just let us know what you need and we’ll work hard to accommodate you. Contact us to learn more about our flexible class times and the appropriate class level for your child.