6 Must-Take Toddler Classes
As parents, surely we want what’s best for our children. We love to see them laughing, smiling and having fun. Isn’t it great when all of that is combined with learning and education or just plain old socialization? Toddlers (as you may know) are very active both mentally and physically, and although classes are not imperative, you and your child may enjoy some organized activities once or twice a week. It’s a great opportunity for you and your child to get out of the house and learn something new!
What are the benefits of bringing your toddler to a class?
There are 4 major benefits when it comes to bringing your child to a class:
- She will get to explore new games, toys, equipment, and materials they she may not have at home. She will use all of these to learn new things.
- She will get to interact with other children in and around her age. This will help develop her social skills, and get her used to playing with other toddlers.
- You get to have some adult time and interact with other parents. Sometimes, it’s nice to talk to other parents about what you or your child may be going through or experiencing, or you may just want to meet some new friends.
- You, as a parent, can learn a thing or two. Often in toddler classes there will be time while the children play for parents to have a discussion with each other on specific topics.
6 must-take toddler classes
It’s a great idea to get your toddler in the water from the time she is a newborn. The American Academy of Paediatrics doesn’t actually recommend instructional swimming lessons under the age of four. So, up until then it is best to enroll them in classes that are more for getting used to the water and having fun it in. This will allow your child to adjust to water and they will learn readiness skills that will help with future swimming lessons. If you want to enroll your toddler in swimming lessons, look for a class that follows these three rules: kids should not be submerged, parents should be in the water with their child, and the instructor must be certified in resuscitation techniques. It is recommended you start swimming with your child around 6 months of age. According to the Center for Disease control and prevention (CDC) children ages 1-4 have the highest drowning rates. With that said the CDC declares that having swimming skills at an early age does help in that “Taking part in formal swimming lessons reduces the risk of drowning among children aged 1 to 4 years.”(1)
Remember: You must never assume that by taking part in such a class it will keep your child safe from drowning. Young children always need to be watched closely by an adult while around swimming pools, lakes, and even bathtubs.
Children can avoid the risk of getting some pretty serious diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease by simply participating in regular physical activity. Gymnastics with toddlers has been a controversial subject for quite some time and some will argue that it may do more harm in the long run, but there are many benefits for toddlers who participate. Gymnastics is considered to be a sport of great skill and dedication. Gymnastics is a versatile program offered to children that incorporates strength, speed, flexibility, power, balance, coordination and discipline all in one. Gymnastics, competitively or not, can benefit a child’s overall development.
Music, including singing, dancing and movement, is vital in the development of children. Children tend to lean towards learning languages, and music is definitely a language. Music engages the brain and stimulates different forms of intelligence such as abstract thinking, mathematics and empathy. Music teaches a child to use different parts of the brain and helps them get creative. Movement is required for developmental growth and music encourages all sorts of movement. Not only that, but music most definitely involves the expression of feelings, and when a toddler can not quite communicate with words, they can use music to express themselves. The benefits of music are truly amazing and endless. You may want to start your baby off in a music class as early as a couple of months old.
There are many baby language classes out there to suit your needs. There are sign classes to start your baby off young as a better way to communicate early on, and then there are verbal languages (any one you want) they can start a little later on. Our world is becoming more and more multilingual, take a look at this fact: there are as many bilingual children as there are monolingual children (2), and 21% of school-age children (between ages 5-17) speak a language other than English at home (3). This number is projected to increase in the coming years (4). As you can see, learning a new language is going to be a great skill for your child in the future, and what better way to do it, than attending a class full of other children who are going to learn the same? A baby of about 6 months can start a language class but remember, you can teach sign even earlier.
If you want to try something outside of the norm, indulge in a mommy and me cooking class. These classes are recommended for toddlers of one year and up. Most mommy and me cooking classes offer one-on-one experience with a nutritionist who will show you what to cook and how to cook a healthy meal for your child. You will learn about safe ingredients, organic foods, and portion sizing, all while your toddler has fun helping mom cook. This is a great creative and fun outlet for both you and your child to participate in.
Ballet is one of those things that a toddler can benefit immensely from in many areas of her life. A toddler can develop skills in confidence (a huge one) strength, focus, socialization, and cultural knowledge. A toddler will also benefit physically, cognitively and emotionally as well as thoroughly enjoy herself and make new friends. Putting your child in ballet is one of the best ways for them to channel all of their energy and is a great alternative to regular sports if they aren’t into that.
As you can see, the benefits of toddler classes are endless. We urge you to do your own research before attending any type of class with your toddler and make sure it is age appropriate and something your toddler (and yourself) are going to enjoy. The possibilities are endless for children if they are given the opportunity. Learning and exploring is something a developing child needs to partake in, and they will benefit from these classes cognitively, socially and physically.
2. Paradis, J., Genesee, F., & Crago, M. (2011). Dual Language Development and Disorders: A handbook on bilingualism & second language learning. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.
3. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Available online: http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=96 4. American Speech Language Hearing Association. The Advantages of Being Bilingual. Available online: http://www.asha.org/about/news/tipsheets/bilingual.htm
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