Toddlers can be unpredictable at the best of times and it can be tricky to know which activities they will enjoy.
If you’re looking to start a new class or group session, you’ll probably be offered a free taster or a trial period at a reduced price. At Noodle Performance Arts, you can try any of our classes, including Noodle Tots and Ballet Tots, for free to see if your child likes it before committing.
But how can you make the most of taster sessions? And what should you be looking for when you attend a class?
- Don’t worry if your child doesn’t join in
Small children are often nervous about trying something new and may have to go to a class several times before they feel comfortable enough to join in. This doesn’t mean the activity isn’t right for your little one, just that they need time to get used to the new environment they’re in and being around unfamiliar people. Toddlers and pre-schoolers learn a lot through observation so you may well find they will hang back and watch their peers for the first few weeks. They may even start singing the songs or talking about the activity at home even when they are completely silent in class. Be patient, once your little one has gained confidence, they will soon be joining in with everything.
- Put the activity on trial and not your child
When you’re trying out a new activity, try not to focus on your child’s behaviour, concentrate instead on what the session involves. Watch the children who have been going to the class for a while, do they seem interested and engaged? How well does the activity leader run the group and do they interact well with the children? Is there a set routine which encourages young children to anticipate what is coming next? You are trying to find a class that your child will enjoy over a period of weeks so don’t panic if they don’t appear to love it straight away. Think about the kind of things your child usually enjoys and what you want them to gain from a class. Will this activity help them develop social skills or boost their balance and co-ordination? Do you want them to get used to playing in a group or are you just looking for something fun?
- Tantrums and tears are normal
In an ideal world, all children would walk into a new class, take to it straight away and enjoy every minute. But in reality, new people and places can be overwhelming for toddlers and that can lead to tears and tantrums. If your child does start getting upset or behaving in a way you don’t like, don’t be tempted to leave the class straight away. Talk to them calmly and give them lots of reassurance. If you decide you want to take them away from the group, make sure your child can still see what is going on so they realise they can go back when they calm down.
- Give it a chance
If you like the idea of a class or activity, you are happy with how it is run and you think your child could benefit from taking part, sign up for the first block of sessions even if the trial class didn’t go to plan for your child. It can take a few weeks to see whether or not an activity is actually right for a little one so give it a chance before making a final decision at the end of the half term or block of pre-booked sessions. If it is a pay-as-you-go activity and you don’t need to sign up, commit to going at least four times to see whether your child will start joining in and having fun. If you like the group but you feel your child is just too young then don’t be afraid to take a break and come back to it when they are older.
- Don’t compare your child to anyone else
When you take your toddler to group activities, it can be tempting to start comparing what they can do with the other children there. Every child is different and develops at their own pace so don’t be put off if your little one doesn’t seem able to do the same things as others in the class. Your toddler will progress at their own speed and getting them involved in different activities will help them boost their development and introduce them to new experiences.
- Ballet Tots and Noodle Tots classes are suitable from children from the moment they can walk confidently up to three. Both classes use props, action songs, music and movement to introduce little ones to the performing arts and, most of all, have lots of fun. Register here to book your free trial session today.