Having a baby opens up a whole world of new experiences, but can also be a very isolating when you are thrown into that world without an instruction manual or support network. Making connections with people that understand what you are going through can therefore, be vital for your well-being.
Attending a class with your baby is a great way to meet people in a similar situation and who understand and "get it" when you share the challenges and joys that come with this stage of your lives. It’s not uncommon for the friendships that have begun in these classes to develop into something significant that lasts longer than the duration of the class, often for life.
What you may not realise though is the value of the friendships for your baby too. It is easy to overlook these first peer relationships as initially there appears to be little interaction between them. There is however, huge significance to them. So why are these connections so important? Let's explore 3 key reasons every mummy and their tot needs baby class friends.
1) Your babies are all around the same age
You might have friends and family who already have children but it is unlikely that their kids are at the same development stage as yours. Being able to talk to people who are in the exact same position as you is empowering and comforting, it breaks that isolation and helps you to understand you are not alone. As your children grow, you will continue to share experiences. First teeth, first steps, first day at school, having pals to turn to through the good and the bad can help you make the most of the journey that we call motherhood.
For your baby, meeting others little ones at the same development level also has its advantages. While interaction with any age group will have its benefits, growing alongside peers can help as they learn and play together. Potentially the baby’s that lie next to each other on a mat in baby class may go on to playgroup, pre-school or even school together. Reaching those milestones with someone by their side whom they know well and can look to for support, will help as they transition through the stages.
2) Friendship Modelling
Children learn from what we do, just as much as what we say. If from day one our children are able to see us interacting in a positive way with our peers it helps them to do the same. Obviously, this is a learning process. Children go through natural stages when interacting with other people and as ego centric little creatures they can seem to be very self-centred. They don’t always understand the rules of play but this is all natural. Whether or not they eventually learn how to form significant connections with their peers will depend a lot on what they witness.
A baby class is the perfect opportunity to regularly meet with mums and build bonds that will extend beyond the class. As your babies grow you will give them the opportunity to understand the etiquette and the value of real friendships at exactly the same time as they are exploring their own.
3) Building a support network
Some people are lucky enough to be surrounded by family falling over them-selves to help out with childcare, errands and anything else you might need for the next 18 years. Other people are not so lucky. It’s also worth noting that even those who have a supportive family network don’t always feel right asking or relying on family members or may worry that their parenting strategies are at odds with their own.
Whatever situation you find yourself in, building a bigger network of mums who will be there for you when you need it can be invaluable. Whether it’s helping each other with childcare, doing the school run with your eldest child while your house bound with a poorly sibling or picking up something you need from the shop… the list of ways you can be supported is endless.
These small acts of kindness can make the world of difference when you’re at your wits end and the friends that you meet through your baby group will be more willing than most to help you out; why? Because they understand exactly what you are going through and they know that if they ask for your help, you will be there for them as well.
Your children will benefit in many ways from this support, including the fact that if you and your friends support each other with childcare then they are not meeting a strange babysitter each time, they are going somewhere familiar with people they have known since birth. In the absence of a village (in most cases) to help you raise your little ones, your mummy friends can really help fill that gap and make the job of parenting so much easier and more enjoyable.
Make friends with Tots Play
At Tots Play we really understand the importance of having a support network of mummy friends, and our small class sizes and personal approach are designed to help facilitate these friendships. Our Baby Development course classes (suitable from birth) are restricted to just 10 families to ensure everyone has the chance to get to know each other over the course of the six weeks, and many of our groups continue their journey together through our Discovery, Social and Action Tots classes.
The Tots Play programme incorporates activities of five baby classes in one; sensory, baby massage, baby yoga, baby sign and physical play, all mixed with music. This combination of experiences makes it a unique experience that supports your baby’s development as well as your blossoming friendships. We have classes all over the country, so why not come and join us soon? Click HERE to find your nearest sessions.
No classes near you yet? Perhaps you could be the one to bring them to your local area. Find out how to start your own rewarding, family friendly, business running Tots Play sessions through our Franchise Programme HERE.
Whatever you are up to, and whoever you are with this week, happy playing!
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