Why are there no weekend baby/toddler classes?

(34 Posts)
erikab922 Mon 29-Jul-13 14:25:45

I'd love to do a class like Rhythm Time etc but both my husband and I work full-time and it seems in our area every single baby/toddler class is held on a weekday during working hours.

I would imagine the classes would be very popular seeing as how so many parents don't have the option of an extended mat leave (or any leave beyond six weeks).

I haven't a musical bone in my body but I'm willing to try to replicate what they do in a class at home but since I can't even get to a blooming class I don't know what they do.

Anyone else in the same boat?

DrCoconut Thu 01-Aug-13 00:30:03

We want to do water babies with ds2 but it is not available at weekends.

MillionPramMiles Tue 30-Jul-13 14:14:23

How about if soft play areas offered more structured, age restricted activities/classes that parents could buy a separate ticket for at anytime?
All it would need is a separate room (which lots of venues have anyway for birthday parties etc).
I've seen a few of the people who run classes, during the week, doing 30 min slots at parents homes for birthday parties at the weekends so maybe there are people who'd be willing to do that at a soft play venue?
I know of one soft play venue that does this on a small, limited scale (but for pre-school upwards children) and it's always busy.

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 30-Jul-13 13:37:09

miaow it's the same with soft play too. Maybe it's because I always go during weekends only. Even in softplays with dedicated crawler/young toddler areas, they are always filled with school aged kids. They jump into the play mats, throw things around, snatch toys from the little ones. It's dangerous for babies and toddlers! That's why I never go to them anymore.

MiaowTheCat Tue 30-Jul-13 13:32:27

The stuff that doesn't stop during the summer round here gets utterly unuseable anyway (things like library Rhyme Time) because all the school age kids get brought along and their misbehaviour ignored by their parents (who proceed to talk so loudly over the activity being run that it gets ruined for everyone).

I actually walked out of rhyme time last summer as it was getting fucking dangerous with kids being allowed to jump off chairs onto the mat where the little ones were sitting. With stuff like that happening - no wonder the commercial stuff goes into shutdown since people would just walk away and not come back.

FairyPenguin Tue 30-Jul-13 13:07:08

There are some in our area:

Tumbletots (from crawling to age 7)
Rugbytots (from age 2)
Swimming lessons (from 3 months)
Library Baby Rhyme Time - once a month with dads
Leisure centre soft play session - once a month with dads - bouncy castle, soft blocks, balls, trikes

Of all those, would highly recommend Tumble Tots.

erikab922 Tue 30-Jul-13 13:00:55

Loads to catch up on, glad it's not just me then! My LO is 15 months old, she's just started to get really good at walking and is all about the fun stuff now so wanted to take her to a musical class and watch her act a fool around other kids. There are absolutely gobs of kids her age around us (all first children) but they are also all boys and she never gets to hang around with any girls, so thought a weekend class might be fun and she could meet some other little girls her own age.

All of the Saturday activities are for dads/male carers and my husband works on Saturdays so that's put paid to that. I figured the reason why there aren't a lot of classes are because the people who run them would like to have their own life on a weekend (how very dare they)!

The local library near us is about as big as a portakabin but that's a very good idea and I will see if there's anything on further afield!

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 30-Jul-13 11:18:52

MillionPramMiles exactly. It's a tricky age with crawlers and early walkers. DD loves the zoo too, now you mentioned it. She still finds playgrounds and softplay too boisterous. They say she's a bit nervous with the preschoolers at her nursery too.

It will get better and easier!

Lots of babies also have older siblings though, which must take at least 1/3 of them out of baby group circulation in the holidays unless everyone is happy to have various ages and personalities of older sibling at the classes. On top of that those with school age siblings or a teacher parent (plus a few others) will go on holiday in school holidays...

Where I live I have found things that happen mainly out of school hours (like baby swimming) impossible to attend with my 2nd and 3rd child because, obviously, you can't bring the older ones along... So I wish they were at 9am on a Tuesday, term time only shock wink A lot of kids activities are only viable with your first child... Swings and roundabouts.

MillionPramMiles Tue 30-Jul-13 10:21:28

OneLittleToddle: that's a fair point, it's a tricky age before they're properly walking as lots of outings can end up with you carrying them or using the pushchair too much. Playgrounds/zoos etc aren't always safe/comfortable for crawlers but can be great when they're older.

minipie Tue 30-Jul-13 10:01:50

What's even more frustrating is that these classes (the weekday ones) mostly stop over school holidays, including all summer.

These are baby classes... the babies aren't at school... so why do school holidays apply?

Or so I thought... then I realised that most of the class leaders are women with school age kids who want a term time hours job.

Treagues Tue 30-Jul-13 09:47:51

It looks like a gap in the market but it probably isn't.

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 30-Jul-13 09:42:42

erika how old is your LO btw?

Maybe you'll think slightly differently when they are a bit older? My DD is 2, and I do see DD's time at nursery as attending toddler groups/classes all week already. They do basically the same thing in nursery. Craft, singing, drawing, gym (climbing frames in garden etc).

In the weekend, we do things outdoors as often as possible with her. Walking, parks, even shopping. (She loves shops without a lot of people, like B&Q, waitrose)! It's only recently that she really enjoys going out. She will get excited whenever she sees a bus and will start singing wheel on the bus. She's just started to get the concept of treasure hunts. We are thinking of going fruit picking with her this weekend. She wasn't so keen like this when she was less mobile. She's now ditched the pushchair and wants to run everywhere touching everything.

What I'm saying is that maybe it's just a short phase for you. Once he's an older toddler, you might be able to enjoy other 'family' activities.

A friend of mine tried to set up music and movement classes on Saturdays (she runs them on one week day morning already) but just didn't get the take up to pay her costs.

I think a lot of FT working parents consider that 5 days a week at nursery or with a child minder gives their baby or toddler enough of the kind of stimulation a toddlers group or class offers, and want the down time to relax with their child at weekends. Others have older children at home too at weekends, which would make attending a weekend class a juggling act. Others would only want a drop in arrangement to leave flexibility to do other things at weekends, esp if its their only family time. As Amanda and Toddle said only a small percentage of FT working parents want weekend toddlers group, esp if they have to commit to going every week, so although many people think it's a nice idea in theory, in practice too few people sign up and commit to run them cost effectively.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Tue 30-Jul-13 09:20:00

Toddle - I agree, it's actually a very small group wanting weekend classes. It's people who work ft, and who do so in an office type Monday-Friday setting (e.g. I know a police officer who works full time, but that is spread over four long shifts and she has three weekday days with her children).

Add into which that most of those parents don't want to commit to weekly classes unless it is something like swimming lessons which is seen as having long term potential and value.

It is incredibly hard to run something like singing classes as drop in. To be able to charge, you have to have a good range of instruments, parachute, etc and you need to limit class numbers. Only free classes like the library can get away with enormous gaggle of children not doing much other than singing. If you get too popular, people get turned away and don't bother again. If you get a sunny day, everyone goes to the park and you lose almost all your income.

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 30-Jul-13 09:14:10

Oh and if you want to do music with your little one, don't worry about classes. Sing lots and lots of nursery rhymes with them. It's enough at this early age.

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 30-Jul-13 09:12:11

There are things usually on Saturday mornings, but mostly targetted at dads. I do waterbabies with my DD. Me and another FT mum are the only mums in the group. All the others are dads. I think you can probably also find rugbytots and soccertots.

Music classes would be hard as it's mostly mums who go to them. I'm really surprised how few FT working mums there are in the UK. Almost all the mums I met during maternity go back part time. Same with the wives of all my colleagues.

bigkidsdidit Tue 30-Jul-13 09:11:28

This drives me mad. Where I live school finishes st 12 on a Friday so there are no classes on Fridays either. I can't go to anything!

MiaowTheCat Tue 30-Jul-13 09:06:22

It irritates me too - I only have transport on a weekend and live in the arse end of town where there's nowt much going on (right at the edge of a county so we tend to be a real forgotten patch in terms of council-run stuff)... the ONE thing that's on on a weekend is a dads and toddlers group - kind of useless to me!

MillionPramMiles Tue 30-Jul-13 08:47:05

erikab: I agree with you completely. I work 4 days a week so I do take my dd to one weekday class which she loves. I think it's a real shame that dp doesn't get the opportunity to see her dancing, interacting etc there too. Yes she does lots at nursery but we aren't around to see her enjoying it.

I guess a lot of the classes are run by mums with kids and a lot of the venues may not be free at weekends. I agree with OP though, someone's definitely missed a trick.

We might not want fixed classes at weekends necessarily but dd definitely needs outings. There are always weekends where friends aren't around/its raining etc and then its 'soft play doom' (well put TwelveLegged smile

Our children's centre did dad sessions on a Saturday ,and we have always done baby swimming classes on Saturday too.

Otherwise it's soft play doom!

SpooMoo Tue 30-Jul-13 07:23:02

Weekday classes are to keep SAHPs and mums on maternity leave from going crazy! Presumably if you are both back at work then your baby is getting stimulation during the week in his/her childcare setting? So just enjoy your time as a family on the weekend, no need for fixed activities/classes.

Cravingdairy Mon 29-Jul-13 21:48:19

We do Gymboree and swimming at the weekend. We each get a lie in! Swimming is always fully booked and Gymboree ia getting busier all the time.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Mon 29-Jul-13 21:38:16

I think there is probably less demand than you imagine.

You probably only want to do that type of class with a first child. Because otherwise you need to have the other parent (or whoever if a single parent) look after the older one.

A lot of parents wouldn't want to be restricted to pre paid classes at weekends when they are the only days to do things.

Some parents feel their children cover this structured stuff in childcare settings.

Added to which a lot of the classes are run by women with young children themselves so don't want to do weekend classes.

So it does tend to be stuff like ballet and gym that happens at weekends.

Sorry. it must suck for you though.

Loveitall Mon 29-Jul-13 21:37:51

Exactly same prob here! I can see a gap in the market!

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