Wow, you are pregnant (and think that when you have the baby you are going to have SO much more time cos you won’t be working and the baby sleeps) or newly have a little one (and realise that what you thought before it came is actual crap) and you need to fill your time with child-friendly stuff…where do you start and what can you honestly do??
Well, aside from the usual coffee houses, lunches, tea at a friend’s house and the like there are various baby groups that you can test out and see if they work for you and your bubs.
Your local toddler group is a good place to start; it gets you out and meeting local mums (they often have good insight to things to do locally) AND there is tea and coffee – you actually get to drink it hot because one of organisers will take pity on your caffeine deprived state.
In some areas Children’s Centres are still about and have good timetables of activities to do with your baby…admittedly most of the time is spend sitting on the floor waving something in their face in order to appear educational…whilst talking to other mums about what their little bundle is doing (and you are thinking ‘Holy crap, Splodge can’t do that yet!) or chasing down your one-year old to stop them eating/splatting/smooshing something that they shouldn’t (in public anyway!).
But you can do actual classes…I know right?!
Swimming is a popular one, and actually not a bad idea. I mean they have pretty recently been living in water…some might have been born into water…but making sure that they don’t have a fear of the water is a good thing. There are a lot of options: Water Babies; Turtle Tots and Puddle Ducks to name a few (see the theme in the naming convention!); and your choice will be driven around location, timing and price, but for the most part the course content is similar across the competition. Just ensure you have snacks for afterwards, or milk, and a spare towel and nappy for accidents.
You can also do semi-educational stuff too around things for developing your little ones communication skills…I mean most of us know that when our cherub is red in the face it is most likely a poo…or a tooth…even a really angry baby holding their breath, but if the process of elimination is sometimes a bit trying then giving the baby the power to sign ‘nappy’ or ‘milk’ or something else appropriate to their mood is a good thing…check out Sing and Sign or Tiny Talk.
In that vein you could do Baby Sensory, Hartbeeps or Jo Jingles…they use sign in their programs, but also music, movement and play…all to aid baby’s fine motor skills and engagement in the world. To be honest it can be more fun to feel like you have done something with bubs than think that this is going to make them a genius! And those three aren’t the only options, Google will open a whole new world on baby music classes.
And finally, the ‘yummy mummy’ of classes…languages and yoga. Now don’t let me confuse you – baby massage is not generally the same as baby yoga; as it is really great course for teaching mums techniques for soothing baby tummy troubles and baby colic. Baby yoga is just that…yoga for babies…same as the language classes…it is teaching them to communicate in another language than their mother tongue…at the same time they are trying to learn how to speak in the first place.
For some families all this extra stuff makes sense (bi-lingual homes etc.), but for the most part you don’t need to feel that you have to do all, or even any, of this stuff. If you are totally happy popping to the park, setting up a picnic and chilling do that…if you fancy soft play (or have an older child to entertain too) do that.
But if you want to do something and have the time and the money then look into these options and see what suits you best and your baby as well.
And you never know, you might meet a new friend or actually remember the words to those nursery rhymes that you vaguely recall from your childhood.
Next step…toddler and pre-schooler classes 🙂