I stumbled upon a bunch of mommies discussing about starting their newborns in enrichment classes on a parenting forum. Yes, newborns!
Apparently you can start your newborn on Kindermusic class or Gymboree....No wait! One mommy claims Little Gym is way better. Another sent her daughter for trials at Kindermusik, Baby Jumper Gym, Gymboree and Little Gym before settling for GUG. The same daughter also attends swimming classes at Aquaducks (since she was 6 months old) and enrichment class at Growing Up Gifted (since 10 months old). A very busy girl indeed.
Many mommies jump in the bandwagon to offer their expert advice. Suddenly a whole lot of names like Tumbletots, Julia Gabriel, Montessori, Kumon, Tony Buzan and Shichida are flying around between the excited moms.
Parents want their kids to become geniuses. They even convince themselves that by paying thousands to send them to "My kid is a Genius" or "Superchamp" camps, they will raise champions.
I have seen enough kids who may be top scorers in school but are so over-protected or aloof, they find difficulty socialising and fitting in the real world. Is that what the parents want?
Childhood education experts say that parents must be able to find a balance. A child may grow to be happy, more fulfilled and well-adjusted through enrichment classes. But if it is close family relationships or an afternoon together at the park that makes a child happiest, the answer may not be music school or math lessons but just more time spent with parents and loved ones. Happy, relaxed family time gives children the conviction that they are loved for who they are and not what they can do well.
When my kids were tiny tots, instead of sending them to expensive baby gyms to develop their motor skills, I plied them with Duplo and Lego sets, jigsaw puzzles and building blocks. They spent weekends in the playground, splashing about in the pool, building sandcastles and running around in the park. They cuddled animals and watched Animal Planet. They knew all about dinosaurs, butterflies and marine animals.
Call me a nonchalant parent if you like but I think my kids had a happy and carefree childhood. Just hope they don't blame me for not making them smart enough.
Oops, I've just opened a can of worms here.