Baby Classes – Give Up Or Give It Time??
Ahead of my delivering my first classes, I wanted to really think about how to talk to parents and carers about the benefits of getting their children involved in baby classes at an early age. Lot’s of things to do for babies are meant to be fun, that’s not exactly a revelation and fun play is always good play. But is it fun from day one? What if my baby doesn’t seem to like it or my child doesn’t seem to want to get involved? Should I give up? Should I try something else??? If these things have or are going through your mind PLEASE know you are not alone. In the absence of any real mummy manual we aren’t meant to know what to do but sharing experiences with other mummies can really help. So let me share mine.
I started going to a couple of classes when my son Brody was uber little (6 weeks). At first Brody would lie there seemingly half oblivious to the explosion of sound and colour around us. He would sometimes nap. He would sometimes cry. Can I say I saw any clear signs of major enjoyment…no, not at first. After a couple of weeks I would see him try to catch sight of things moving in front of him. I would shake those coloured scarves and rattle those sensory bottles like my life depended on it but it always seemed like everyone else’s baby was so much more into it than mine. But patience is usually rewarded, and this was so true for us, as before too long yes I could start to see him paying attention. He was starting to react to things around him and this then grew and grew. As the weeks progressed into months I saw some very significant changes. I would see Brody’s face light up at certain sights or sounds. His arms and legs would move with excitement. I could see his eye muscles were strengthening as he watched things move around the room. It was happening!
…and then the magic really starts!
Brody sat up unaided for the first time in a class. He rolled for the first time. His smile, so wide, would light up my heart. He would hold something in his chubby little grasp and was so proud of himself. His giggles were the most amazing sound and seeing him reach out to touch another baby nearly finished me off. He would squeal with delight at the many exciting things around him. Yes, my boy was suddenly an active participant of the class. He was doing his bit and other mummies would be saying ‘how clever Brody’…these moments are ingrained in my brain for life as little glorious ‘the first time he…’ memories !!
It takes time for our little ones to get used to what can be an overwhelming environment at first but don’t just give up. Once they find their confidence it turns into something amazing. When Brody was around 6months we started art and creative play classes (ARTventurers obviously) and from that point we never looked back. The environment was new so again this took a little while for him to find his place and confidence but it was SO worth the wait. I very quickly saw him getting right into the thick of it all…touching and feeling, squishing and squelshing and using all those little muscles to make his very first marks which will be treasured masterpieces in my house forever. I won’t labour on the benefit of art for babies / art for children or even messy play in this post (major benefits) as that’s for next week’s blog. This is about the benefits of attending and, most importantly sticking to a class, or any new experience. Don’t write something off if your child is timid, unsure or just not that into it the first time. The best things in life take time but just know you will be setting your child up for not just happiness and success but also helping them adapt and learn to enjoy the wide world of experiences out there.
Your child doesn’t ever have to be the most confident, the first to do something, the one that gets involved first time…let them grow at their own pace and wide experiences really help that. Keep going and it will come and the benefits from your perseverance will be massive.
Being a mum isn’t a science but we can do lots of things to help our young ones grow, develop and build confidence and social skills. We want our children not just to be in love with us as mummies, we want them also to be totally in love with the world and all the amazing experiences out there to be discovered. Socialising your little one in a children’s class environment really helps with this from an early age. And for mummies? Well the benefits are immense. Put aside all the joy you get from seeing your little one grow in so many ways (which is pretty priceless), classes get you out of the house. You get to make friends. You build a network of invaluable mummies to ask questions of, share worries with and, in my case, catch up with over a glass or two of wine every month or so. My sanity remains (mostly) intact thanks to an absolutely amazing group of mummies friends all of whom I met in classes.
That’s all for my very first blog! Stay well and happy mummies, sending lots of love! Sarah xxx