Exposing children to a range of different activities and clubs has huge benefits to their ongoing development, social skills and most importantly, their enjoyment factor. For a baby, taking them to baby massage, yoga, baby sensory classes or rhyme time is a great way to develop those all-important foundation skills, opening their eyes to new possibilities. However, once they get a little older, the expectations change and the opportunities out there for clubs and classes are endless. But how do you know which clubs to take children to and what age to start?
Each child is different and their likes and dislikes will continue to change throughout their childhood. Opening their eyes to a range of activities will enable them to try new things, helping them to decide on which they would like to pursue when they are a little older.
☑ Swimming – people can take babies swimming from as young as 3 months. Whilst this works for some and they watch their water baby thrive, others scream the place down and it becomes a battle of wills. Leaving swimming lessons until children are a little older, even as old as 4 or 5, will have no negative impact on the child. They may be a little less confident to begin with but they will soon catch up. Try taking them yourself to see if they enjoy the water before making a commitment.
☑ Team sports – football and rugby classes start as young as 2 years old and whilst your charge may be the one that picks up the football and runs away, they will still be having the time of their life. These classes can be great for developing social skills and learning to share but again, they will not properly become a part of the team game until they are 4 or 5 years old.
☑ Dancing and gymnastics – These classes can be held for toddlers where you will witness some extreme wiggling and jumping about. As they get a little older, they will discover ‘good toes’ and ‘naughty toes’ or perhaps learn how to do a chaotic forward roll. Children love these classes as they tend to be connected to music at the start and allow children to express themselves through movement, burning off their fireball energy.
☑ Music lessons – Whilst learning to play an instrument is unlikely to happen until a child is 5 or 6 years old, there are singing classes and musical classes that encourage children to play music and have some fun. Again, selecting which instrument a child might want to learn will happen when they have started primary school so let them develop a love of music to begin with.
☑ Martial Arts – These classes are all about learning self-discipline. They teach children the importance of patience and respect and are great for children who are full of uncontrollable energy. Taking 4 or 5 year olds is a good time to start if you think this is the class for them.
With so many classes and clubs available to your charge, it is about knowing what they will enjoy and benefit from. Make sure you consider the seasons – cricket, tennis and athletics clubs have all begun so get stuck in this summer.