I was warned about play groups when I was pregnant. You’re an older mum, like me, everyone will be younger. You’ll feel out of place. Even if they don’t make you feel like it, you’ll feel it anyway. The problem with play groups and activities is they’re all at the wrong times. You won’t be able to keep it up once you go back to work.
We didn’t have those in our day.The list could go on.
Understandably I was bit reticent. I’m not sure I would have joined any groups or activities if I hadn’t bumped into a Tots Play leader at a breast feeding group (I was 8 months pregnant at the time so preparing). Ooh, she’s like me, I thought. I’ll give that a whirl, I thought. I’m a natural introvert believe it or not so I looked up the Newport class information.
I signed up first of all for the Baby Development Course, which lasted for six weeks and covered brain development, sensory play, signing, massage and baby yoga. Every class was about 45 minutes with opportunity to speak to Kaye the course leader as well as chat to other parents. Honestly it was a delight! It might not seem like little baby is engaged but it laid such a good foundation for us socially and I met lots of new people. Our local leader, Kaye, also runs a Facebook group for parents to mix and chat in – it’s a great resource for sharing ideas on places to go and ask questions.
After this course we moved on to Discovery Tots, the weekly class for crawlers to early walkers. The singing and activities were ramped up on this one and it was fantastic to meet some new people too. You don’t have to commit to all the classes, some people dropped out after Baby Development and some attended from other locations – there are three venues across three days so great when you return to work or your schedule shifts.
It was harder for us with the next class, which Small Boy was ready to move up to after a couple of months. This is Social Tots. This was when we really got into Mummy is Exhausted and Permanently Ill phase so it was hard to commit. I was gutted about this but Small Boy didn’t seem to mind. He was getting into I Hate Noisy Places phase (we go through these periodically) so he was happy enough to miss it.
What we’ve now found is a happy compromise with going to occasional Saturday sessions. These are run by the leader in Newport and Cardiff but happen locally to me. They are once a month which is a level of commitment I can cope with at the moment. They’re brilliant! They follow the same format as the classes in terms of timing – first of is Discovery Tots, then it’s Social Tots for the next hour (that’s basically up to about 3). It’s just like the regular classes – some singing (I have the Welcome Song on my iPhone – no joke, it’s a favourite in our house), some free play and some activities in a circle e.g.. parachute play, music, signing.
I really do rate the programme, and no this isn’t an advert, or paid for content. I’ve loved every session at Tots Play. We even had a Tots Play birthday party for our little one. Although I’ve only attended the local class, I’ve met several of the leaders from around the UK who have come to events for training. I’m sure you’d like your local class to, so why not check it out?
I should also mention that they are a franchise so if you’re a “Mumpreneur” (or Dad for that matter), I think this is one that’s probably worth checking out.
So thumbs up to Tots Play, you made it fun and an introvert a little more social.
Tots Play offers a complete programme of classes, parties, information, products and resources to give you the confidence and inspiration needed to play, connect and enjoy special time with your baby or toddler in ways which will enhance their development.
The programme is suitable for children from birth to around 2 and a half years, with a range of sessions aimed at different age groups. With the exception of our Baby Development course, which runs at regular intervals, all courses are ongoing so you can join at any time throughout the year.
Attending classes is a great opportunity to take time out of your routine to enjoy focused time with your little one as you cuddle, play, connect and make new discoveries together every week.
You will also pick up lots of ideas to enable you to continue the fun (and learning) at home, so get ready to leap, laugh and learn together!