In 1976 when my first child was born, I enrolled in a Mommy and Me program. This was a revolutionary idea at that time. The program I joined had only been in existence in our area since 1965. The program was at the local college, San Fernando Valley State College, now known as California State University, Northridge, run by the Home Economics Department.
Today, the words Mommy and Me are common in every parent’s vocabulary. There are so many types of Mommy and Me classes and of course Daddies are now included. If you like to exercise, you can take a stroller, yoga or exercise class with baby.
You and baby can go to an exercise class for baby, a gymnastics type class, movement class, dance class, and gym type class. There are all types of music classes for parent and baby and cognitive type classes too, where baby learns sign language, to read, or speak a foreign language. There is a new type of class also, a Developmental class, taught by a Child Development Specialist, focusing on both achieving developmental milestones of the child and parenting skills for the parent.
Classes are held everywhere. They are held in community centers, non-profit agencies, religious organizations, government agencies, and private agencies. The fees range from free to low cost to sliding scale to expensive. In some places you need to be a member and/or pay a membership fee; for some, you will need to qualify; some will have waiting lists, while others are easy to register for. Some classes will accept children with special needs and others will not.
Here are some things to do before deciding on a Mommy and Me Program:
1. Before enrolling in a class decide what you want to accomplish by joining a Mommy and Me class. For example:
a) Make new friends yourself
b) Learn to play with my baby so she can develop new skills,
c) Learn parenting skills
Every parent will have his or her own list. I talked to the Mom of an 8-week-old last week and she was looking for a class where she could take her baby and regain her pre-pregnancy body.
2. Research the class
a) Talk to the teacher/owner if possible
b) When and at what time is/are the classes?
c) What is the cost?
d) View the site
e) Talk to other parents (if possible)
f) View the curriculum (there should be a curriculum)
g) Ask about a home curriculum for baby
h) Any other questions you may have
Then take all your research and see which classes meet your needs the best. Grab your baby, and it’s off to class!
Faith Golden M.A. is a Child Development Specialist with over 17 years experience. She has worked with over 2400 families with children ages’ birth to 5. She specializes in prevention and early intervention through in-home teaching, Developmental Parent and Me classes, Happiest Baby on the Block workshops and workshops for parents of children with special needs.
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