The world of baby classes has a lot to offer new parents. But with so much to choose from and so little time to find them all, it’s easy to miss out on the fantastic opportunities around you. That’s where our guide to baby classes comes in, to introduce you to what’s on offer and help you find the right class for your family.
It’s worth bearing in mind that different types of classes are best for babies at different ages and stages. That being said, many classes often allow you to observe or have a taster session to see if your little one enjoys them. But before you get that far, you’re probably wondering…
what are baby classes and should i go to them?
As you start to settle in to your new life as a parent, you may be finding it hard to travel far from home and wondering where you can go besides the local park! When you are caring for a little baby on your own, the days can feel long. And that’s where baby groups and structured classes can really help.
Gathering families together to join in with a variety of activities, baby classes are really just as much for you as they are for your little one. Take them as an opportunity to meet other parents in your local community, and to start building a routine for yourself. Attending a regular class can help create structure to your days and weeks, and will often come as a welcome break from being at home.
You can start baby classes as soon as you feel ready to explore and there’s a wide range available to meet every interest. Read on to find out about the different types of classes to look out for.
best baby classes for newborns
Suitable from birth, multi-sensory classes use sound, lights and texture to help activate and develop your baby’s senses. Incorporating gentle sounds and rhythms, these classes tend to use a wide range of materials to create a fully interactive class. As you play with and observe your child, you’ll find it promotes a lovely bonding experience. National brands like Hartbeeps and Baby Sensory hold classes which are exclusively for younger babies, so you won’t have to worry about roaming older toddlers either.
Baby massage is all about learning how to recognise prompts from your baby and soothe them with your touch. Classes are often structured as a 6-week course, run in small groups where you can get to know everyone in a calm, quiet setting and learn a new skill. You can even arrange to host a private course in your home with local parent friends. Visit the International Association of Infant Massage website to find your nearest practitioner.
bring your baby events
Whilst not strictly in the baby class category, there are an increasing number of activities for parents that are baby friendly and are best attended when your little one is at their littlest! From stand-up comedy to parent choirs and talks from interesting speakers, these are a great opportunity to meet other parents and bond over something other than your little bundle. Baby-friendly cinema screenings also usually require your child to be under the age of 1.
best classes for babies
Once you’ve been given the all-clear by your GP at around 6-12 weeks, you might like to do something for yourself to support postnatal recovery. There are many yoga and pilates classes available for mums, dads and babies, and increasingly there are also a range of baby-wearing fitness and dance classes where your baby can enjoy the movements or fall asleep in their sling. Many classes are run by local practitioners, but try Sling Swing and Sweaty Mama for national brands.
music and movement
As your baby becomes more alert and interested in the world, music and movement classes from providers like Jo Jingles are practically guaranteed to bring you baby giggles and smiles galore! Plus they’ll often introduce you to new songs and movements that you can repeat at home on your own. For added fun, many classes will include the use of props like giant parachutes, mini instruments and baby friendly bubble machines.
You might also like to keep an eye out for classes that are run by professional musicians and provide something a little different, like Boppin’ Bunnies or Little Notes. Or perhaps try Monkey Music which runs a more structured musical development curriculum, introducing babies to music and rhythm and aiming to get children ready to learn an instrument by the age of 4 years old.
Your baby is listening to everything you say and starting to make sense of the world. They’re showing early signs of communication with gurgles, smiles and gestures. Make the most of it by learning baby sign language with a class like Sing & Sign or TinyTalk, available from birth, and incorporate simple songs and signing into your daily life. Your child might start telling you when they are hungry or are ready for a nappy change well before they are a year old!
finding the right baby class for you
Many classes run trial offers, or have a few ‘drop-in’ spaces available so that you can try before committing to a term. Times and availability also change frequently, so if the class you want isn’t near you at the moment, try contacting your local class provider or following them on Happity, the baby class directory. There are also plenty of free and community-run events around too.
To get the most out of your classes, we recommend picking a location that you can easily get to, at a time when your baby will be naturally more alert - for example, shortly after a nap time. But the most important thing when it comes to baby classes is to remember to have fun and find something that you both enjoy!
Our baby classes guide is written in partnership with Happity, a web platform that works to support parents by putting baby and toddler groups at their fingertips.
Happity holds free Discovery Days in Mothercare stores where you can try out or observe a variety of taster classes, including baby signing, sensory play, music and more. To find out more about Happity and all the amazing baby classes near you, visit https://www.happity.co.uk/ or https://www.facebook.com/happityBaby.