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Baby Classes: Does She Really Need School?

My friends are taking classes with their infants, like baby yoga, baby music, and baby sign language.  Is mine missing out?

Nope. Your baby won't fall behind if she doesn't take music, yoga, or any other kind of class, for that matter. At this age, playing and hanging out with you are the only brain boosters she needs. Still, infant activities can offer real benefits -- for you. Signing up for one with your baby can be a great excuse to get out of the house, meet new friends, and learn games and songs you can use at home. What to look for:

A small group. Classes should top out at 12 babies (plus their caregivers) -- enough new faces to engage your little one without overwhelming her.

A short class. Anything lasting longer than 45 minutes will leave your 9-month-old
overstimulated and cranky; younger babies usually won't even make it
beyond 30 minutes.

Plenty of baby-parent play. Instructors should help moms and dads interact with their babies in fun new ways: tickling tummies, singing songs, playing games. 

Good timing. If the music class you had your eye on meets right during naptime, skip it and opt for an earlier class, even if it's a different subject. What's most important is to pick a time when your baby's naturally alert.

An easy exit strategy. If your baby loses it during the gathering song, don't feel guilty about ducking out the back door. But give it another shot -- she might really enjoy herself next time.

Bottom line: The moment scheduling or attending a class gets stressful for you or your baby, forget about it.

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