In Defense of the Baby Play Class
Okay, let’s be honest. We all know that organized play classes for infants aren’t really for the babies. Yes, we tell ourselves that we’re helping our kids to learn socialization skills and all sorts of other stuff, but I doubt that my daughter really learned much when I enrolled her in her first Gymboree class at eight weeks old. For all I know, she may have actually been a little overwhelmed by all the colors and sounds. I also agree with another blogger who said that Gymboree seems a little pre-packaged and the classes can sometimes seem like hour-long commercials for Gymboree toys and clothing. If you were to also ask me if the classes cost to much, I would reply with a hearty, “Yesiree!”
Now let me tell you what’s good about Gymboree, Kindermusik, and all the other organized play classes for itty bitty babies. Parents get to interact with other parents who are often just as confused as they are. If you have ever walked into a room peppered with new moms (sleep deprived, hormonal, and oftentimes leaking milk) then you know this is a specialized group of gals. Nobody is going to understand quite what they are going through except for other moms who are in the exact same stage. Moms with older kids tend to forget about how hard it can be to have a newborn, and don’t even get me started about people who don’t have any children because they can’t even hope to understand.
I was really lucky because some of the other new moms I met in my daughter’s Gymboree play class are still people we socialize with on a weekly basis. None of us attend Gymboree anymore, but we do all make an effort to get the kids together once a week for playdates. Recently our oldest daughters have all been turning four years old, and I’m quite happy to say that my daughter can probably not remember a time when she didn’t have a group of friends who she sees on a regular basis.
So although I may not think that organized play classes for babies are really all that important for a baby’s physical and cognitive development, I will say that I still think it’s a great idea to make some time to get together with other new moms and dads who will understand when you burst into tears or laugh hysterically for no reason. They get it. If you have to join a structured play class to get that interaction, go for it.