If your baby doesn't seem engaged in a parent-baby class, is it worth going?

By Claire Lerner

When Baby's Scared of Music Class

Q. My 9-month-old and I are in a Mommy & Me music class, but he's scared to participate. However, by the end of each class, he's engaged a little bit. Should I keep going?

A. Stick with it. There are many children like your son. While some naturally go with the flow and jump right into new situations, others are slower to warm up. They tend to be more comfortable with one-on-one interaction and can feel easily overwhelmed in a group.

Another factor may be your son's sensitivity to sounds. He may love hearing music at home, but in a class, the noise and movement of the other children might at first be too much for him to handle.

The good news is that kids are very adaptable. You can help your son feel secure and find great pleasure in new relationships and experiences.

How to Get Him Comfortable

  • Play with musical instruments at home and gradually add different sounds.
  • Invite another child around your son's age to come over so he can get used to spending time with others. Ideally the child should be familiar and easygoing.
  • Give him opportunities to feel comfortable in gatherings by attending other organized activities like playgroups or story time at the library.
  • If possible, arrive at the music class early to give your child a chance to explore the environment without other kids around.
  • In group situations, especially new ones, follow your child's lead. If he clings to you, help him explore from the safety of your arms or lap. If he needs a break, take a stroll around the room or go to a quiet area. If you give him time, he will soon feel safer to join the fun.

Claire Lerner, LCSW, is a child development specialist at Zero to Three, a national nonprofit promoting the healthy development of babies and toddlers (zerotothree.org).

Originally published in American Baby magazine, May 2005.

American Baby


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