For many parents, back-to-school time often brings a few tears (sometimes bittersweet, sometimes joyful) as their kids eagerly head off to class. However, for those of us with prepreschool tikes, fall may not be so emotionally draining as there is not much of a change to our daily routine. But this fall, my toddlers and I are eagerly looking forward to getting back to our “mommy and me” school routine. For my boys, these classes provide social interaction and practice for “real” school down the road. For me, it’s a wonderful way to connect with other parents, while catching a much needed daily glimpse of the world beyond our four walls. If you’re also looking for ideas on what to do with your three-and-under crew, here’s a peak at our schedule and some class suggestions.
Monday: Music Class
Sing, dance, tap, shake, and jam with your little ones during a parent/child music class. There are countless benefits of early exposure to music – perhaps the most important is that your little ones are sure to love finding their voice and shaking their hips, and you are sure to love watching them. (I teared up a bit the first time I saw their little eyes light up in class.) Check out the following nation-wide programs likely to be available in your area:
Tuesday: Library Time
Many libraries offer a wide range of children’s literacy programs. Our local library has a weekly program called Lapsit. Do the toddlers always actually sit on their parent’s lap for the entire 30 mintues? Ummm, no. But, most programs accommodate for this with some hands-on activities, singing, and dancing intermixed with story time. Oh, and the best part, it will probably be FREE! Find your local library here:
American Library Association – @ your Library
Wednesday: Play Group
I’m not sure who loves play group more, my boys or their mother. 😉 We are actually in two different groups, and we love them both for different reasons. Wondering where to find some kiddie (and parent) play groups? Here are a few suggestions for finding a play group in your area:
Moms Meetup Groups – A website where you can find and join local play groups. Click on “Parents & Family” in the interest category.
National Organization of Mother of Twins Club – Find (or start) a play group through your local twins club.
Thursday: Gym Class
There is no better feeling than getting my boys loaded up in the car after gym class and knowing that I have sufficiently worn…them…out. These are some of the best nap days of the week…assuming I can get them home before they pass out in the car from the pure elation and exhaustion of the morning tumble. Looking for a tumbling class? Take a look at these class offerings:
Local Parks and Recreation Tumbling Classes
Local Gymnastics Facilities
Friday: Home Day
Friday is somewhat of our variable day. Sometimes we are busy packing for a weekend road trip to visit family, sometimes we relax and snuggle up to watch the favorite movie of the week, and sometimes we head back out to our second play group. I’ve also found it’s good to have a day with nothing on the schedule for planning doctor visits, running errands, or making the dreaded grocery trip.
Wait, so you mean we actually load up and get out of the house with two toddlers under 2? Yes. We do. Is it always easy? No. Is it worth it? Yes, I truly believe so. And here’s why. When we do actually get out of the house and to our classes (15 minutes late and with two dirty diapers), there are usually other adults there. Of course, there are other moms and often a handful of dads there, which is great for some adult conversation. But, there are also other teachers, instructors, or librarians there. And, they might…just…help…you. Many of the instructors in our classes will often grab a twin as we sing, dance, stretch, read…or even chase one as the other runs in the exact opposite direction. Our My Gym instructors will pull Big Brother to model a tumbling move so I can work with Little Brother. Our Music Together instructor will dance with Little Brother so I can shake my grove thing one-on-one with Big Brother. I often find that it is almost a break for that hour we are in class!
Finally, one last bit of advice when enrolling for classes – consider your kids’ schedule. Consider their nap time(s). When do they eat? When is usually their “happy” time of day? For us, mid-morning is our best outing time. Most of our classes start around 9:30 or 10:00 and last up to an hour. We head home, have lunch, and then settle in for a long afternoon nap. And, yes, many times “we” often includes mom, as it is no joke getting everyone up and out of the house to class. We are exhausted, but happy – an option I’ll take any day over exhausted, bored, and cranky from being stuck in the house. And that’s usually all the motivation we need. Good luck, and happy “back to school” to all us pre preschooler moms!