For those of us with swimmers and non-swimmers in our brood, keeping the non-swimmers happy during swim lessons is no easy task. So before they drive you batty during that time or any time they aren’t involved and may have to wait, read up on a few tips from Betsy Stern of the Madison Moms blog that will help keep them busy!

As a mother of two swimmers, I have learned that the only way to relax during swim lessons is to make sure my non-swimming child is entertained for those 30 precious minutes. Through trial and error (yes, you’ve probably seen one of my children running around the waiting area like a crazy person, begging for a snack or complaining of boredom), I’ve discovered a few tips and tricks to making swim lessons enjoyable for ALL of us.

  1. Bring snacks/coffee: My 4 year old is usually happy as long as she has something to snack on. When my big kid is swimming, my 4 year old munches on goldfish or cheerios (I try to pick something that takes awhile to eat!) and she’s happy as can be. If you are coming alone, treat yourself to a cup of coffee and enjoy every last HOT drop while your kiddo is in the water
  2. Reading Materials: My kids both love to read. SwimWest has books available in the waiting room to read to your little ones, and my 4 year old loves to read or just look at the pictures while her big brother is swimming. Pack a few from home or take advantage of the collection at SwimWest – and don’t forget about the Little Free Library outside, too! 
  3. Busy Bags: We have a ready-to-go bag of travel toys and activities for things like swim lessons, soccer practice, dance class, etc. It’s a bag full of easy to pack activities – coloring books/crayons, sticker books, fidget spinners and small toys. We don’t always bring it, but it definitely helps pass the time for whichever sibling is tagging along!
  4. Homework: The waiting area has tables and chairs which makes sitting down with your big kid really easy, and it’s a great way to get homework off your to-do list for the day.
  5. Screens: Would any post be complete without a shout-out to screens? While there are always other options, sometimes it’s nice to just let your little one watch a show or play a game for a few minutes while you watch your other child swim, catch up on emails/text messages or just relax for a few minutes!

Those are my best tips for keeping your family entertained during swim lessons. Feel free to share your own in the comments below!

Betsy Stern

Betsy Stern

Betsy is a mom to two sassy, spunky and spirited kiddos and wife to an adventurous, soccer-loving Chemist named Noah. She is originally from the Chicago suburbs but has bounced around the world with her husband before landing (hopefully permanently!) in Madison. Her first child, Jackson, was born in Germany during their two years living abroad. Betsy loves exploring new cities, donuts (any kind, anywhere) and being a stay at home mom. She is currently in school with plans to become an Occupational Therapist.