To Class or Not to Class?

This afternoon Toddler will take her first swimming lesson – with her dad. (… because I’m not a calm influence when it comes to swimming … I swam out of an undertow once at St. Augustine Beach and can swim enough to save myself and my children – I think – but generally am not a fan of water … therefore, this one’s on you, dada!)

Compared to other kids in our area – the greater NYC area, for reference – she is very, very late in starting swim classes in particular and lessons in general. Most people here start swimming at 6m, music classes at 6m-12m, and ballet by 2yo.

Basically, my little girl will be the grandma of today’s class. But am I late in getting her there or are the others much too early?

I admit that I see the benefit of early swim lessons: they don’t become afraid of water, they are safer than if they don’t have lessons, etc. I’d been pushing for early lessons (1.5y), but … since I wanted my husband to take her I didn’t set it up – and neither did he.

And we’ve promised her that once she turns 4yo she can start ballet classes (a mixed ballet/tap class, hopefully, because she loves both), since she is obsessed with ballet.


Always in motion … usually in a tutu or costume ….

Why once she’s 4? Well, she can follow directions well (thanks to us and practice at Sunday School and preschool), she knows all her body parts and is pretty competent at arranging them per instruction, and she knows several ballet positions and movements already. In other words, the $600 per year will be worth the money.

Did I think $600 was too much at 2yo for my little girl to wander around a room, examining the ceiling and doing everything but what her teacher asked? Yes. I know my child, and I didn’t think paying that much for “the experience” was an appropriate use of our money. I can – and have – taught her on my own until now.

(And goodness knows dancing to the Nutcracker suite every day is plenty experience on her own – actually her movements are quite good already.)

If you disagree and your child is already at star at 2.5yo, well, I’m excited for your child, but that’s just not for me.

Am I missing out on a critical formative stage? You might think so, but agree to disagree. My generation (I can’t believe I just wrote that … I’m 33) didn’t start organized classes that early, and we turned out quite skilled. Can’t we just play at home and build things like social skills and gross motor coordination via park time and playdates? Can we leave the more intense classes until our kids are a bit older? Let them be free and play uninhibited for now, I say.

From what I see around here, parents are rushing to get their kids into events we didn’t start until kindergarten at the earliest. A friend of mine put her 3yo in soccer, then admitted they just “run around and sometimes kick the ball. I just talk with the other parents.” Hmm. Are these classes just an excuse for our kids to do our hobbies under the guise of family time – or adult socialization?

Well, I guess I would rather spend my time other ways … and my money, too. Two years ago I was cajoled into putting Toddler into a music for $200 including the yearly registration fee. What a waste! For 8 of the 10 classes she didn’t really get into the music at all – and it’s only now that she is singing the songs from that class! Excuse me if I think I could’ve spent that money better somewhere else and just put on a CD at home for her to beat our own tambourine to.

So … here we are, knocking on 4yo and Toddler is just now getting into official classes. We’ll see if she’s behind or not and whether the timing is good. For dance classes, I think yes. We’ll see with swim. But I trust my motherly instincts that the timing is right; I know my child and her attention level and skill level. I may differ with other parents around here, but I’ve liked our “home classes” and thinkΒ they were worth our time and (non) money.

(Old fuddy duddy rant over.)

What are your thoughts? Are your children/babies already in classes?


By the way, this week will be the start of an updated blogging schedule for me. I’ve been doing M-T-W-F-Sa, but with the longer posts I’m doing now I’m changing to M-T-F-Sa for my sanity. I just can’t keep up with the writing and reading!


14 thoughts on “To Class or Not to Class?

  1. Hi! I like the ‘classes’ for adult interaction. But I don’t like the price tags. I compromised. We are members at a cool local play place so we can drop on and play whenever, and they offer shorter classes every morning (art, movement, yoga, etc., depending on the day) that are included in the membership. It’s still $120 per month which is a lot. But I think it’s worth it since it likes double duty. Those classes would cost much more.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh yes, that place you’ve posted about – looks very cool. I like that alternative, especially in the high heat of summer or throes of winter when you just want someplace nice indoor to visit. Love the classes with open play – I would consider that one, but $120 is a lot! There’s an indoor play place around here that does I think $60 or $90/mo, but I haven’t done that one except per visit paying.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We’re going to do a swimming class for Baby Girl this summer (she’ll have just turned 3 when it starts), and meant to do it sooner, but otherwise I can’t see doing much in the way of classes for toddlers. Same with Little Man — swim around 2-3 and sports at 5, plus various one or two week camps here and there. I live in a small town in South Carolina, so we don’t have a lot of options, but I imagine I’d still keep things pretty low-key activity wise regardless.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am not doing classes and I probably won’t, at least for a while. The base is about 40 minutes from our house and kid stuff always seems to start at 8 or 9 in the morning. No thanks! Besides, at 2 years old, I think it would be more just (slightly) organized chaos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh neat – I thought you might be a military family but wasn’t sure. Two of my cousins were stationed in Vicenza and enjoyed it. One took many sojourns, as you do! But yes, 40 min is a looong drive for what are usually just 45min classes. 8 or 9 is EARLY! 930 or 10 is the earliest around here, which is nice but also incredibly inconvenient if you also have a baby who needs a morning nap at that time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You bet we are. Go Navy! Vicenza is up in the north, where they follow rules and stuff. πŸ˜‰ Here in Naples (the south) stop signs are suggestions and street lights are decorations! Haha! My husband got in a slight car accident yesterday and he said, “The door still opens fine, so whatever.” Most of the kid activities on base are for the people who live on base (ugh) and that’s why they are so early. Then they turn into gossip sessions and that’s just not me. Pass!

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s awesome! Always glad to see fellow military people. πŸ˜€ I used to work for the Navy on medium cal ammo for jets before momming. πŸ™‚ We are right by Picatinny (home of the Picatinny rail) – go Army and go Navy!
          Naples sounds crazy! I had an 6-hr experience there off a cruise ship, but the the garbage workers were 3 days into a strike and it was raining; needless to say we didn’t do much there!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m with you! I had my first swim lesson last night with my 2 year old. It’s 30 minutes long and the first 10 minutes were just going over safety rules (important). The last 20 minutes all the parents did was hold their kid in the water, walk around, and sing Wheels on the Bus. Exactly why am I paying $35 for lessons?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by my blog! πŸ™‚
      Yeah, I feel your pain. So much is overcharged (in my opinion). My 3.5yo actually likes her swim class now, but no parents are in the pool and they have one-on-one time with the instructor; I feel like that’s worth it. I guess with the older kids you get a class like that???


  5. Pingback: Toddler Talk Tuesdays: Tap Dancing and Fred Astaire (Of Course) | welcometothenursery

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