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In Shape

Baby Workouts

It's never too early for gym class. Eleven-month-old Annie mostly giggled through her first ever workout session and Mom broke a sweat, Mary Agnes Carey reports for FoodFit.

 I decided to take my 11-month-old daughter Annie to her first gym class because I'm an exercise nut, so is my husband, and I want to foster that in Annie. Plus, it seemed like a good way for her to mix with other babies. Gymboree and classes like it are the modern day answer to play group for older parents who may not have a lot of friends with young children.

Balls, Bubbles, Action

Class was in a tiny room packed with blue and green mats, balls and other equipment. When we got there some of the "Gym Walker" participants, children aged 10 to 18 months, were warming up by toddling everywhere. Annie warmed up by crawling to a classmate and taking her ball away.

 For the next 30 minutes our perky instructor led the class of eight tykes and about a dozen 30-and-40-something parents through a series of activities.

The first exercise was having the kids roll balls to each other. Annie failed to catch the ball sent to her and she began to cry. The instructor assured me that Annie just needed some time to adjust.

And she did. Annie was giggling moments later as the kids bounced down a makeshift slide in a big silver saucer. Her delight continued with the next activity, when the instructor blew bubbles from a huge wand and some of the kids crawled after them. The class ended with songs, the Alphabet Song was a huge hit.

Although we had a good time, I don't think we'll be back. I don't want to spend my Saturday mornings rushing around to get my daughter to class and I don't think the activities were that different from what we could do at home, however I'm lucky enough to have neighborhood kids around Annie's age.


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  • Be an early bird. It takes longer than you realize to park the car, put the baby in the stroller, arrive at the class and get your child ready.
  • Make sure your baby is wearing good, thick socks. You'll probably have to remove their shoes - you wouldn't want some kid's shoe hitting your kid in the head.
  • Make sure you dress comfortably. Mom or Dad will be on hands and knees crawling since you must "spot" your child at all times to avoid injuries. You'll work up a sweat. Even though our class was in January, I wished I'd worn a long-sleeve t-shirt rather than a heavy sweatshirt.
  • Don't force your child to participate in an activity. If another piece of equipment grabs his or her eye, then indulge. Chances are your little one will wander back to the group eventually.
  • Pack a snack. After all that stimulation from the colors, music, equipment and other kids, Annie needed a bottle and some munchies before we climbed back into the car.


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