There are plenty of mother and toddler/mother and baby groups here in the UK, which offer the opportunity for parents to get together to chat, swap stories and advice with each other. Some of these are a godsend to many parents whether they are used as a social meeting place or somewhere for their child to ‘let off steam’. It is encouraging to know they are at least there!
Here in the UK baby gyms are springing up and offering the chance for you and your baby to join. Ages can start as early as 4 months and some of the classes offered are swimming, yoga and exercise.
This trend has come from the U.S.A. where childhood obesity is soaring, and here in the UK we unfortunately are not far behind.
Nowadays, it is not only swimming that we can use to help the development of our young ones, but the baby yoga classes and baby gyms offer 'swimming for infants, active play courses and the fitness lessons for pre-schoolers.'
Babies are born with natural swimming reflexes which, if not developed, they will lose sometime between the ages of 8 to 10 months. Therefore, introducing your baby to water at an early age can be enjoyable to both parents and babies.
Babies Working at their Own Pace
One advantage is that babies’ work at their own pace, which aids development of confidence in the water before they have a chance to feel fear of it. I remember that my 3 year old son was petrified of water to the point that on days out if we went anywhere near a lake or river he would scream the place down, and this always puzzled us as nothing untoward had ever happened to him regarding water – he just had a fear of it.
The yoga and aquatic classes are not something that is 'done' to babies but more of a bonding exercise with parents and helps instil enjoyment of exercise from a very early age These classes also encourage babies and toddlers to retain their natural flexibility and posture.
This is not the ‘exercise’ that we know as adults, Can’t imagine tiny dumb-bells, rowing boats and exercise bikes being part of it somehow, a typical baby gym class has parents and children singing and clapping while doing the exercises, which are geared towards keeping muscles and joints flexible while strengthening the spine.
Many Grandparents have taken to buying their grandchildren membership to the gyms as Christmas presents and who knows, these could even be introduced as a gift for the new baby!
It has been noted that not only can baby yoga be good for babies and toddlers, but mothers can also benefit with their return to pre-pregnancy fitness levels. (Obviously not to stop for cream cakes on the way home though)!!
It’s understandable that it can be quite difficult for new mums and dads with a busy work load to find time to relax, and gyms such as these could be the perfect setting for both mother and baby to unwind in a peaceful, calm environment as well as bonding.