Monday, 25 January 2016

BABY: My Guide to Baby Classes

 
Baby classes can be the perfect way to meet new parents, get out of the house and generally interact with people who can actually speak full sentences. I've loved going to all over the classes we've been to over the past 9 months and thought I'd share some hints and tips that I've picked up along the way.
There are so many different classes you can go to these days, which is brilliant as I've found the type of classes we go to constantly changes in line with Isabella's interests. As Isabella is 9 months I've only got experience of classes up until this age, there are plenty of fantastic experiences I'm looking forward to embracing with her as she grows older. Below are my top 4 tips to consider if you are interested in going to any baby classes...

1) Consider not paying for blocks of classes - I've made this mistake twice now where I've paid for 6 weeks of sessions in advance, only to find that I can't attend one or two of the lessons. Prior to booking a block of classes I'll have a look at my diary and if I'm free then I'll say a couple of pounds by paying in advance. This works well if your diary doesn't change much, as you can often save around £1 a session, so £6 over 6 weeks. However in my case appointments were booked and illness' struck resulting in not being able to go to at least two of the six classes. Each class was £5 when I paid in advance, or £6 pay as you go - by missing two sessions I lost £10. I would have therefore been better off not paying in advance and instead just paying £1 more for the sessions I could go to. If that makes sense? I've learnt my lesson and won't be paying for blocks of classes anymore - no more money wasted!
2) If you want to go to a class then...go! - This seems obvious but I've ummed and ahhed about whether to go to certain classes and before I know it there's no space left or Isabella suddenly learns to crawl. There are various classes that require your baby to not be able to move (e.g. baby massage, pilates with babies, baby yoga etc.) so I'd recommend going sooner rather than later. Isabella learnt to crawl at 6 months, which meant I suddenly wasn't able to go to the pilates with babies class I wanted to go to. There are some fantastic classes for when your baby is young (baby massage, swimming, baby sensory, baby bells by Hartbeeps etc), ones that are suited for when they're able to sit up and interact a bit more (Caterpillar Music, baby beeps by Hartbeeps, Sing and Sign, Monkey Music, TinyTalk etc.) and classes aimed at babies that can move around (Gymbabes, Rhythm Time, the Creation Station, gymboree etc.) Make sure you make the most of any classes you want to do aimed at the different ages because once babies can move there's no stopping them!
3) Timing is everything - Now we haven't ever implemented a strict routine with Isabella, yet she's pretty much always had a routine. She just gets herself into one, though it constantly changes it does provide some level of predictability to our day. This helps me to plan when it's best to go out, get jobs done etc. Most of the classes we've been to have been around 10.30am, which isn't an ideal time for Isabella as she usually naps around then for 1.5 hours. The classes are usually 45-60 minutes long, resulting in a very over tired little girl by the end of the session. This can't always be helped as it seems most classes are in the morning, but timings do vary slightly so I'd recommend looking around for ones that run at times that suit your little ones routine.
4) Choose the class based on what you're looking for - Baby classes are aimed at achieving a variety of outcomes, some of which benefit the baby more and others benefit the parent/s. There are more social gatherings (local village halls/churches often host them), which are perfect if you're looking for others who are going through a similar experience or you just want some adult conversation. There are other groups that are brilliant for advice or help, such as breastfeeding groups or health visitor clinics. Of course there are also plenty of classes completely focused on the babies development and experiences. I've found that some of these type of classes aren't good if you're looking to meet and chat to other parents. For instance, there are no opportunities to talk during the Hartbeeps sessions, in fact they discourage nattering during the class as it should be all about enhancing the sensory experience for babies. This can be a positive or negative depending on how you look at it - if you're not very confident at chatting to people you don't know but still want to get out of the house and experience baby classes then this type of class is ideal. If you're looking for a social chat then you'll be left disappointed.
How have you found baby classes? Any you particularly enjoyed?

Feel free to leave a comment :)

Helen x
MaternityMondays
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14 comments

  1. Great post! Think that's a bit off they offer you a block of classes but don't offer flexibility ! I signed up to 6 classes of baby yoga and she said u can take them anytime so if you miss a week, you don't lose out. Very fair !

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    1. That's brilliant :) I wish the classes I've been to were just as understanding!

      Helen x

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  2. We tend to have to pay for things by term in my area and there are hardly ever exceptions to the rule. I need to look at some different classes, like rhythm time, as I think my eldest will be a bit bored of sing and sign by the end of this term. ��.

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  3. Great post with loads of fab tips! I did loads of classes with Monkey but hardly any with LM, bad mummy! #maternitymondays

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  4. Great post with loads of fab tips! I did loads of classes with Monkey but hardly any with LM, bad mummy! #maternitymondays

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  5. We only attend toddlers just now, but whene lliotts older I want to enrol him in classes etc. you've some great tips? Lovely read. Suz x beauisblue.com

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  6. I struggled at baby/toddler groups until Mia was around 1 as I wasn't confident enough to go and sustain a conversation with a group of mummys who all knew each other however now I would and that something I have learnt as Mia got older. Now we go to 4 classes a week and we both get a lot from them :)
    #MaternityMondays

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    1. WOW! 4 classes a week is seriously impressive :) I want to find more now that Isabella is crawling - anything to wear her out!

      Helen x

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  7. Living in Cornwall, I've struggled to find some classes beyond a Sure Start drop in and play thing where we can also get Jenson weighed. I really wanted to go to Monkey Music and Creation Station but they've just stopped my local classes right before Jenson reached an appropriate age. It's hard to find something local as we don't drive either, so we're really quite restricted :(

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    1. That's such a shame! Could you contact any of the nationwide baby classes to see if they have any plans to head your way?

      Helen x

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  8. I went to more classes with my eldest, as I struggled to take my youngest to classes as I had 2 under 2s and it was hard to keep them both entertained. Having said that both were totally different, my eldest loved sign and sign and my youngest loved the more action classes

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  9. Yes, all of these! My friends and I often talk about how weird it is that most baby classes are at 10:30 when MOST babies have naps around 10 or 11. I also think block booking baby classes is a bit of a con - nobody ever makes the full block!

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  10. I don't think baby classes are as big here in Australia as they seem to be in the UK. I certainly don't have any mum friends that talk about going to them. The only thing I know of in my area is the free rhyme time they do at the library, but I haven't been to that. I just go to my mothers group once a week and that's it!

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  11. We tried tumble tots but I didn't really like it. I took Boo to a music class which I loved and so did she so G has been going for a couple of weeks. Second time around I just can't be bothered with interacting with a load of women who only have babies in common. I know that's mean but it's how I feel haha #MaternityMondays

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