Many moms agree that motherhood is a pretty good gig. According to a 2013 Pew Research analysis, 63 percent of mothers find caring for a child to be "very meaningful." One way you can up the ante for an even more meaningful experience is through parent-child activities. From your local community center to the city's art museum, an array of organizations and institutions offer Mommy and Me classes that educate, engage and entertain both children and parents.
If your child does not routinely attend play groups, classes or school, or if he is shy around other people, a Mommy and Me class can ease him into a new social situation while he still has you to hold on to. Mommy and Me classes also provide children the chance to see a parent interact socially. This modeling teaches the child how to socialize appropriately with others, according to Michigan State University Extension. For example, your child watches you approach other parents, greeting them with a polite, "Hi. It's nice to meet you." Your child may then mimic your good manners, walking up and introducing himself to another child.
A 2010 Pew Research Center analysis showed that mothers in the U.S. spend an average of 23 hours each week working outside of the home, 24 hours on leisure activities that aren't related to child-care and 17 hours on housework tasks. Mommy and Me classes offer the busy woman a chance to forget work and other distractions to spend quality time with her child. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, parent-child classes get you involved in your child's development and free you — temporarily — from daily stresses and responsibilities.
The Other Mommies
Becoming a parent is a major transition that may mean leaving a job and adjusting to a new role. Instead of lunching with co-workers or having a drink with your gal pals in the evening, you may feel cut-off from the rest of the world while you're at home with your child. Psychologist Irene S. Levine suggests joining a group or activity that includes other parents with like-aged children to alleviate some of the "new mommy" loneliness. A Mommy and Me class lets you get out of the house and meet new friends without having to hire a sitter.
Aside from the social aspects of a Mommy and Me class, participation also provides early opportunities for your child to learn new skills and develop abilities. Not only can your child learn the skill at hand — such as dance, music, art or martial arts — but she can also build self-control and reasoning abilities. For example, a mom-and-tot pre-ballet class may help your child develop self-regulation when it comes to how she moves her body, or a parent-child art class may help a child build spatial reasoning skills. Being a hands-on participant in your child's growth might be the best benefit of all.