Wednesday 6 January 2016

Toddler groups - Toddler dance

When Oliver was a baby I absolutely hated baby/toddler groups. I was really shy, didn't feel confident to walk into one of them on my own. I then made the mistake of going to a church one which was so erm, clicky? everyone clearly knew each other and I felt like a complete outsider. What was worse than that is that Oliver wasn't included in the games the other toddlers were playing so that put me off even more. He didn't notice as he was a toddler and it wasn't the other toddlers just leaving him out, it was just because they knew everyone else and why wouldn't they just play with their friends. Don't get me wrong I did take him off to the groups at the children centre once they started and they were good, he also did have some friends I'd like to point out but those groups just ahhhhhh.

I'm doing this post because I know of so many mums with children around Isabelle's age and a little younger, who still haven't gone to a toddler group because they are too nervous, too shy, feel they will be just too out of place. I understand that the idea of a toddler group isn't for everyone but they really do benefit the children and the adults too even if its just getting out of the house for a change.

Instead of a stay and play group I'd suggest starting with a 'class' such as the one we go to called Toddler Dance.
We're lucky to have found a great little toddler dance class just over the road from our house, run by the lovely Lisa who also has various classes around the Watford, Hertfordshire area. Lisa has years of experience as well as having her own children too. Unlike walking into a toddler group where it's play and stay - which don't get me wrong they are also fab, toddler dance is an interactive group with Lisa as the teacher and she will get every single person involved in the group.

I can honestly say that not once have I felt out of place, ignored or just not included in that clicky group. Isabelle loves it. Yesterday was the first day back after the Christmas break and I was dreading her being a complete and utter nightmare as she has been such a handful over the Christmas break but actually she wasn't! She loved it and I think that's why I have realised that these groups are so so important to them. I'm determined to get out of the house every single day now for an activity with Isabelle, even if its just to the local libray, park, farm to see the cows getting milked or a group which I would love to find more of.

Lisa starts with the hello song, which now me and Isabelle sing randomly all the time (ok mostly me... Isabelle just does the occasional lo lo lo for hello) "hello hello hello how are you and whats your name - that's the game!" Then you go around introducing each child to the group by saying their name in the song, this isn't something that happens just once at the start of the term - it happens every single week which I think is great because if you join the group half way through the term you can still find out others names and feel included. Isabelle and all of the other toddlers love it, you can see in their faces when it's their turn to say or have their parent say their name if like Isabelle they can't say their name yet. (oh my word, I've said Isabelle a lot in this post so far haven't I?!)

Then Lisa moves on to some singing and dancing around - bit of a giveaway in the name really isn't it - toddler dance... there's toddlers and there's dacing. there's always lots of fun things including pom pom, parachute games, funny hats and glasses, bean bags, balls, flashing glow stick things - do they have a 'name'? you know the ones with the spikey like ball on the end... as well as our favourite bubbles and not just any bubbles either - touchable bubbles! Thank you Lisa for introducing us to these... you're googling them now aren't you? Amazon it.

This is such a lovely active class to get the children interacting with other little people and it's a great starting place to go to toddler groups because I 100% guarantee you will not be leaving feeling as if you've been ignored.

If you're local to Watford then you can find Lisa's Toddler Dance class on facebook by clicking here - Toddler Dance Facebook

I've never taken any photos at toddler dance so I don't have any actual pictures of Isabelle there! So to break the writing up a little I've added some random ones... in case you were a little confused where the photos were :)

I haven't been asked to write this post, I just really like the group and wanted to suggest to other parents to give it a try!
I'd love to know what groups you and your baby/toddler love? Mary-Kate, x

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