A ‘class’ act
While many mums will still opt to spend quality time with their baby out for a walk or in the park, more and more mums are choosing to sign themselves – and their baby – up for one of the many classes now open to both.
These days, you can take even the youngest of babies to a range of classes. From massage to yoga, music to swimming, signing to rhythm and rhyme…there’s a class for every baby and every mum.
Whether it’s dancing or yoga, exercise is a superb way for you to keep fit and boost your child’s development. Showing your child how to have fun while moving about will set them up for the future and will allow them to view exercise as a social experience that families can share.
The social element of such classes is also very important as it’s a good way for you to get out and meet other mums – AND keep fit – and it will provide your baby with the opportunity for socialisation.
Introducing kids to water at a very young age helps to prevent a fear of water developing later. Swimming is another exciting, enriching experience for both of you as it not only teaches your baby vital life skills, but it also enhances the way in which babies and toddlers learn other skills too.
From a physical perspective, swimming is brilliant for strengthening your baby’s heart and lungs, and for stimulating all five senses. The skin-to-skin contact will also strengthen the bond between the two of you and – even better…YOU’ll get a workout too!
There has definitely been an increase in interest in this practice over the last few years, with signing groups popping up in numerous locations. Baby signing was actually developed in the late 80s by an American scientist, Joseph Garcia, who, while visiting the family of a deaf friend, saw a baby of ten months communicating in a far more sophisticated way than hearing children of the same age.
Garcia recognised that, although babies lack the motor skills to produce speech, they do have the conceptual ability to understand and use language, and the physical ability to make signs. As a result, he researched babies’ sign language and taught it to hearing babies of hearing parents. At baby signing groups, mums are taught by a facilitator how to sign basic words such as ‘milk’, ‘cold’ and ‘eat’ and to communicate these to their baby.
Increasingly popular, baby massage classes are another fantastic way in which you can connect with your baby – and there are benefits for your baby! Studies have shown, for example, that baby massage can help with issues such as improving bonding and attachment, and strengthening your baby’s digestive system (thereby helping to reduce symptoms of wind and constipation). The interactive experience can also help to facilitate better communication between you and your baby.
The type of class you choose for you and your baby doesn’t really matter; it’s the spending quality time together that’s important. Any activity that increases your attachment to and interaction with your baby is always guaranteed to be a sure-fire winner!