Popularity grows for baby sensory classes
Baby development classes designed to stimulate all five senses are on the rise, with some research saying it can help babies hit their key milestones earlier.
Streamers, bright lights and bubbles might not seem like the way to create the next baby genius – but if you want to get your child ahead of the game, involving them in sensory activities early on could be vital.
Jo Kane runs one hour classes in Auckland's North Shore three times a week.
She says the classes are designed for new-borns to 13 months of age and focus on taste, touch, sight, scent and sound.
"It's critical in those first 12 months because once they reach their first birthday, baby's brain has doubled in size and never again do they grow at such a rapid rate," she says.
Research shows by introducing stimulation early, babies brains learn to develop new skills faster.
"They've taken that research and that research has shown those things are important to learning and that's what they're doing in the classes," says University of Auckland early development expert Dr Annette Henderson.
"So the basic premise seems actually quite great."
Classes incorporate sign language with music and the themes change weekly.
Ms Kane says not only are they beneficial for the baby, they also help parents expand their horizons.
"A lot of mums are first time mums; they're struggling to know what to do and how to relate. And so they can get together and socialize with other mums as well," she says.
Parents who attended the class said they provided more stimulation than what was offered in the home.
"There's a limit to what they have at home to interact with," one parent says.
Ms Kane says the classes are becoming so popular she's looking at expanding next year.