The Real Benefits of Baby Groups

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One new mum looks at her calendar. On Monday, there's a music lesson. On Tuesday, sign language. On Wednesday, a coffee morning. On Thursday, a calming sensory class.

No, these aren't her opportunities to escape for an hour each day. These are classes that she'll do with her child. In fact, they're classes that are designed with her baby in mind.

Today, tiny tots have busier schedules and social lives than we could ever have imagined a decade ago. But are these classes really worth the effort of waking in the morning, showering and preparing the baby changing bag?

The benefits of baby classes for children

Children need stimulation in order to develop and learn. This stimulation doesn't need to come from expensive classes, but it's often made easier when someone else has done all the planning!

Evidence shows that children as young as three months old can learn to use basic sign language to express their needs and wants. There's something to be said for early communication, reducing the need for tears and tantrums.

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Sensory classes can help to create a calming environment for parents and babies. Nobody's expecting your baby to compose a symphony, but there are also benefits to music classes that can encourage a young baby to tune in to sounds.

Baby classes don't need to cost a fortune, either. Many are free of charge or cost only £1. See what's advertised at your local library or children's centre.

[Read more: New Mum? Don't Compare Yourself to Others]

baby playgroup play session playdate

The benefits of baby classes for parents

As a new parent, stressed and overwhelmed, going out in public might sound like your very worst nightmare. In fact, once you've jumped the initial hurdle and stepped beyond your front door, you'll almost certainly feel the benefits.

Social interaction with other adults is extremely beneficial and, as a new mum, you'll come to rely on the support of a social circle.

Routine and distraction can also help your baby to behave better. And when they're not in the best of moods, at least you're not trapped within the walls of your own home! Just getting out of the house can make those unavoidable crying sessions seem much less overwhelming, and will ensure that there's always someone else to offer a supportive smile...and a slice of chocolate cake!

[Read more: Why NCT Classes are (Mostly) BullSh*t]

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