Your bundle of joy is all grown now, and you are probably wondering how best you can improve his/her social and physical skills. Before they go to school, it is essential that you teach your child vital social skills. Regardless of age, social skills are crucial. Therefore, enrolling your child in a baby sensory class would be a wise move.
Baby sensory classes are worth taking if you want to mix with other parents, learn new ways to interact and stimulate your baby’s mind and movements. They are not worth taking if you can do these from home or cannot afford the extra expense.
In this article we are going to answer all the questions you might have about sensory classes and if they are really worth taking.
What Are Baby Sensory Classes?
Baby sensory classes are specialized sessions designed to provide your child with practical ways for creative playing ideas and equipment massage sessions, movement, tummy time texture feeling, scents, visual development and music. Your baby can easily replicate these sessions at home.
Even though you can do most of these activities at home, it’s best if you let professionals handle your baby. Besides, it provides a good time for you to bond with your baby and to break the monotony of staying in the house all day.
Baby sensory classes involve a lot of fun activities. These activities will teach your little ones vital social skills, improve their physical abilities, and they will enjoy doing them. These activities are specially designed to enhance and promote your baby’s sensory development.
Your baby’s senses of touch, sight, smell, sound and taste, are put into practice. These practices help to enhance and improve them. The classes are created to engage all the five senses of your baby. You may find yourself enjoying them as well.
During these classes, depending on your baby’s age, they engage in the following activities:
- Sound tubes for auditory enhancement
- Playing in the sandbox
- Taste test activities
- Puffball sorting
- Playing with water
- Frozen toy to help teach the difference between hot and cold
- Playing with mud, such as in a mud kitchen.
- Physical exercises such as jumping
- Playing with musical instruments
At What Age Can Your Baby Attend Sensory Class?
Activities in the sensory classes are usually divided by age. This makes it easy for you to find a class that is age-appropriate for your baby. That said, babies can start lessons right from birth. You may need to wait a few weeks, say two or three, to get accustomed to the outside environment and for your body to heal properly.
For instance, classes are grouped 0-3 months, 4-6 months, 7-9 months, 10-12 months and so forth. Each category has activities designed in a way that the babies can handle and enjoy them. You are required to be involved every step of the way.
How Much Are Baby Sensory Classes?
Baby sensory classes are affordable. The cost differs depending on the age of your child. Additionally, prices are billed in hour-long sessions, which include playtime in an exploratory play area. Most of the time, your baby will be enrolled for between 5 to 10 hourly sessions.
In Salisbury, for instance, the cost for a term of 5 sessions ranges between £37.50 and £ 40. A term of 10 sessions goes for a discounted price of £75. Note that these term fees vary from time to time, depending on the number of weeks the class is running. If you wish to enroll for a single session, the cost will put you back £7.50.
Other regions charge £6.00 per session. Generally, depending on the region you’re in single, hour-long sessions of baby sensory class range from £5.50 to £8.00. You will, however, consult further for the availability of space. Usually, parents with twins and multiples are awarded attractive discounts.
Do Babies Benefit From Sensory Classes?
Sensory classes are incredibly beneficial for your child’s sensory and physical development.
Here are some benefits of sensory classes to your baby.
1. Your baby will develop a sense of self-awareness and that of those around him.
Attending these classes helps your child to develop excellent social skills. Not only will he develop a strong sense of self and esteem, but he will also be mindful of the presence of other people. It helps your child to be confident and courageous.
Plus, your baby mixes with other babies and, in doing so, learns vital social skills like negotiation, co-operation and sharing.
2. Improves structure and routine
As a parent, you know that young children thrive better where there is routine and structure. Taking them to a sensory class regularly helps develop structure and stability in their lives.
Exercise is recommended for everyone, regardless of their age. That said, taking your child to sensory classes gives them a chance to exercise. There is special equipment available in these classes that help enhance your child’s physical abilities.
For instance, your child can crawl through play tunnels, play in the ballparks and throw softballs. This builds their confidence, strength and coordination. Tummy time is also important for your baby’s young muscles as it develops strength on their wrists needed for fine motor skills. Group dances focus on building your child’s head, shoulder and neck muscles.
You can also join and sing for your baby bouncing songs while they lay on your lap. Encourage him/her to rock from side to side as this helps build their gross motor ability needed when they want to move from a side-lying position to a seated position.
Moderate mental simulation is essential for your child’s healthy cognitive growth. Being in a new environment with endless toys and other kids to play with provides your baby with adequate mental stimulation. Your baby will also enjoy singing and dancing to the nursery rhymes and participating in various educational activities such as modelling with clay and painting.
This stimulation is also crucial as it helps your kid to develop healthier ways of expressing their feeling. For instance, your child will learn not to throw tantrums when angry or frustrated. Plus, activities such as painting develop their imaginative thinking and form foundations for later precision tasks such as writing, drawing and even tying their shoelaces.
5. Language Development
Sensory classes help your baby develop language skills faster. Frequent exposure to music, for instance, gives your child an opportunity to copy rhythm, syllables and pitch way before they start making formal speech sounds.
What’s more, your baby can learn sign language and other non-verbal cues, which provide your baby with a strong foundation for their language development. The symbols you use, eye to eye contact and gestures, help your little one develop language faster.
6. Sensory development
This includes sound, sight, touch, proprioception and vestibular senses. In a sensory class, your baby will absorb information through each of her senses.
By the end of each session, your little one will have a well-rounded and gentle dose of sensory input to help challenge and, at the same time, calm them. A music class, for instance, is not just about playing instruments. The props, rhythm and sounds help activate and strengthen your child’s brain.
Disadvantages Of Baby Sensory Classes
On the downside, baby sensory classes have few cons. First, unprofessionalism when handling your child during these classes may make your baby overstimulated. Your baby may become irritated and fussy.
Second, you have to ensure your baby is engaged in age-appropriate sensory activities. Involving your baby in activities way above their age group may make him frustrated and fussy.
Third, sensory play such as those to enhance auditory perception needs to be done in moderation not to spoil your baby’s ears. Unfortunately, sometimes, this is overdone, potentially risking your child’s listening ability.
Fourth, sensory classes can be expansive, and you may not be able to afford all the recommended sessions. This also makes these classes inaccessible to some people who may wish to enroll their children in sensory courses but can’t afford them.
Fifth, sensory classes can potentially teach your child to be too independent. While independence is a good thing, sometimes, we need the help of other people. It is good that your child can function quite well on her own, but it’s also essential that he can work well in teams.
Are Baby Sensory Classes Worth It?
The value of these classes is dependent on the reasons why you are enrolling your child for one. These classes are worth it if you seek to improve your child’s sensory and physical development but in a professional setting. You may not have the time to play with your child or engage him in activities essential for their growth. Enrolling them in these classes helps fill this gap.
On the flip side, these classes are not worth it if you can do the same activities in the comfort of your home. Granted, there will be no other kids to play with. Even then, your baby’s older siblings can help out with this. You can replicate the activities done in these classes and do them at home.