Photo Credit: coolkidsites.net
Before I had a child I could not understand why parents would sign their babies up for infant and toddler classes. “Can’t you entertain your child at home,” I thought. “Isn’t there a better use for your money than singing nursery rhymes next to other kids?”
I signed my son up for an infant swim class when he was small, but the reason for that was simple, the swim class provided us free access to the pool. Without it we would need to spend significantly more for a membership. Every Saturday since my son was about 6 months old my husband and I have diligently taken him swimming.
I recently signed my son up for a toddler art class. During my child-free days I saw this as a complete waste of money. As a stay-at-home parent I now see it’s value. The truth is that the value is not exactly for my son. My son loved painting and getting to see other children’s faces but the class is actually more for me. It’s a way to get out of the house one morning a week. It’s also a way to meet other moms who stay home with their kids and it’s a place for my son to make a complete and utter mess with paints, glue and other art supplies that I don’t have to clean up.
The class is held at a community center not too far from home and it costs just a few dollars per session.
I still think it’s odd to see very young children enrolled in these classes. The children sitting across from us were so young that they were still crawling. I’m sure the moms wanted to get out and meet some new people, but it was funny to watch them trying to participate in organized arts and crafts with their small babies.
It’s easy to judge and reflect on other people’s choices when you are not familiar with them. I clearly remember laughing at the notion of signing up toddlers for art classes. Two years later I see the value in them. Go figure.
4 thoughts on “You Spent Money on What?”
I felt this way too! We are only involved in free classes through our public school system right now, but I can’t wait for swim lessons, music classes, and other stuff. (I just can’t be one of those moms whose babies can’t do the stuff yet!)
Depending on the class it can actually be pretty fun. Our art class is extremely laid back and the instructor even lets the parents join in the fun. I painted a picture right next to my little guy 🙂 Swim class has always been a blast. We’ve been taking my son since he was 6 months, but around 18 months he really began to love it!
I used to think that as an urban mom, with supposed access to all these great classes, my child and I would have fun mornings at this class or that event. Then I had twins, and I realized that toddler “extracurriculars” are not set up for twins — multiple child discounts are paltry at best, I couldn’t safely hold two babies at once in the swimming pool (though I know parents who do it), and after two mornings of chasing one toddler around the gym while waving over my shoulder to the other toddler (“Mommy sees you!”), I decided to wait until the girls were in preschool, when parents are sidelined.
And then I realized that these classes are really expensive… : P
So I say enjoy the classes… they are tailored to your situation as a SAHM with one child, they really are mostly for the parent’s benefit (getting out of the house and meeting new people), and unless your son is in preschool if/when you have a second child, you won’t enjoy it nearly as much next time around!
Ellen – You are absolutely right! Two of the moms had twins and both sets of twins were very young. It looked like torture for them as they strapped one into the stroller or wagon and then tried to complete activities with the other. I was having enough trouble keeping paint in it’s expected area with just one. I can’t imagine trying to keep two kids at the arts and crafts table 🙂