Make a BF BFF through mum and Baby/Toddler activities

Why did I Set up KidooLand and it's Mum and Baby Clubs?

In 2007, Great Britain, America and Australia were leaders in offering a whole range of activities for the under 3s. France wasn't!

When I arrived here in 2004 with a baby and toddler on each hip I started looking to join up to classes so I could entertain the babes and meet other mums...where they could paint in someone else's place than on my own walls (yes that happened!)

From music, to tumble tots, yoga to dance, art to pottery painting the list in endless .

Imagine my shock when actually there was no Tumble Tots in the village hall, no sing and sign in the church hall ..there were a few English mum and baby groups but a good drive away ..nothing on the scale of the UK at nothing on my doorstep .. well there was ..the Baby group in the local PMI did operate but as I wasn't a teenage mum I just didn't fit in really!

I needed to meet other parents share the trials and tribulations in those oh so long days when hubby was of in the relative haven of work.. so I did meet Steph (who I am happy to still know these days!) in a local ludotheque in Cagnes Sur Mer but we quickly outgrew their playtent and tidying up their thousand piece puzzles my toddler accidently opened up was a bit of a bind..

I also was lucky to meet one of my very best friends Faye in a mum and baby group in Vence and tried another in an American Church in Vallauris which was simply overwhelming as there were hundreds of mums and I just couldn't get the confidence to go again..anyway neither of these run anymore.

This really led to my idea to set up KidooLand ..I wanted a friendly safe place big enough we could do a variety of activities but small enough you could make friends and not do a runner. So I went around contacting the mairies, churches, village halls etc etc and none of them were willing to lend their space! Basically I had to take on my own space (and huge rent!) make it safe for babies and kids and throw oven the doors to you all.

In the last 10 years we have had a ball .. it is a real perk of my job to meet your precious bundles it practically always bring a tear to my eyes at the special-ness of the moment and how lucky I am to cuddle your babes while you run to the loo. Like a mum with a babe said this week .. we try to keep things laid back- there's a changing table, bottle warmer, places to feed baby ..we want you to feel welcome and happy to come back.

I have tried to put into a place a range of activities which have varied enormously basically depending on which teachers were available at that time. We had mum and baby yoga with Alia, Baby Music with Sandrine, Art with Parenfant and Melina from Folie en Tete, we did Baby signs with Heather a qualified Speech therapist and now we have performer and dance teacher and creative genius Sian who is opening up the doors to a fantastic world of imagination, creativity and movement and dance.

I am super proud when I see those questions circulating on Facebook " Where did you meet..?" on Facebook and lots of you say KidooLand..that's great ..

MAKING A A BF-BFF .. (BreastFeeding BFF - or bottle we don't judge!!)

Meeting other mums and mums to be is essential for your sanity in those eary months .. it REALLY helps to know that someone else is up at 4:13 a.m. with a screaming baby .. or someone to bounce off about teething and just laugh with on nappy explosions!! Having a BFF on that journey who is close by is so important ..so join our club and make a mate...

There aren't the same NCT or LAMAZE groups here where you can make those essential friends for

life like they do back in the UK.. so if you can't join

us then I would suggest if you are pregnant you contact UK trained midwife Shelley also regularly runs classes in Monaco and Antibes and is such a

genuine lovely person - not only is she safe hands but you will get that NCT type experience!

Once baby is here then contact Julia Edgeley local Irish Homeopath who runs baby massage classes if you can't get into one of our pop up sessions, she can also help with your every homeopathic need.

Why isn't there more for the under 3s

Nowadays there are some soft play centers in Nice, Antibes and Cannes on offer but often with restricted open times for under 3s. I think this is due to the cost of running versus the demand and what they can make.. Other activities and centers, pottery cafés etc have come ... but so often they have also gone, folding sometimes literally over night.

Why have they gone?

FLEXIBILITY Well you mums (and we do understand that!) want us to be flexible because children get sick, or you travel out of school holidays but this doesn't pay the bills.

Once we have paid the extortionate rents and charges and the high employee costs and substantial charges these classes often cost us money :-( . KidooLand is unique in that it runs many other activities which effectively subsidize these classes but those classes get the priority for times and days as we know we can fill them...but we still offer flexipasses and pre book and on the door prices but we need you to support us!

SUBSIDIES We are privately run and I have never braved the paperwork nightmare that is subsidies so we don't offer classes at 2€ (though we do have a free class on Mondays..but the recession and governement cuts meant many associations went to the wall as they were relying on them...

VAT TVA for every 10€ you pay us we give 2 euros straight to the government in VAT/TVA. Add on bankcharges, paypal costs heating, coffees, teachers and the rent and you can see how this quickly becomes 0!

MUMS GO BACK TO WORK Sadly the cost of living and the work-life balance not being in balance means many mums go back to work quite quickly sometimes after 4 months ..for us, this means we have to constantly recruit mums to the classes .. this costs a huge amount in advertising and time for a client who will only be around for a couple of months, won't come regularly and doesn't want to pay much!

Why do we still do it .. well we have managed to keep the classes going for the last 10 years it gives something back to the community , it provides an essential service that every mum should have on offer in those early months.

We do need your support ..if you have used us, if you have made a friend, if your child liked their activity then please do spread the word, tell your friends about us ..tell them to tell their friends..

If we can build up a strong base of mums each year who can come to some sessions, we can manage the availability and be as flexible as possible but we need that strong base!

KIDOOLAND MUM AND BABY CLUBS 2016/7

There are a range of deals right now ..WEB PAGE. These sessions are not only for your baby they are also great for you to get to know other mums and parents in the region, and to have fun at the same time-all in English!Why not join us, watch your baby develop and see how much fun you will have?

Tuesday : Bambinos 9h30-10h15 for 4-12 months

Tuesday: Mum & Baby 10h30-11h15 for 12months +

Thursday: Baby dance 9h30-10h15 for confident toddlers

with a special deal until end of dec FACEBOOK EVENT

Thursday: Art & Music 10h30-11h30 for confident toddlers

We will also open our doors on Mondays 10-11h30 term time from November - April for mum and baby group with coffee and tea for FREE but we need 5 mums to commit to coming fairly regularly.

Email if you are interested

Our classes offer lots of activities including dance, movement, music and sensory, all with a theme each week- perfect developmental activities which are fun for both you and your baby! Given that they are run by a native English speaker, these sessions are a perfect introduction to the English language for your child/ren from an early age, familiarising them to phonetics.

It also offers the perfect opportunity to introduce your child(ren) to the team and to the centre, so if you wished to get involved in our other activities like our Playgroup or Anglo Club at a later date, we would be a familiar place for them and this means a quick adaptation.

POP UP WORKSHOPS

Baby Massage 21st November FACEBOOK EVENT

Photo Shoot for Christmas photos great deal 20 euros .. From 20th-25th Nov FACEBOOK EVENT

and this one is for older kids but hey is a Pop Up

coming up soon!! Make your own Jewellery for 6-12 year olds on Saturday 10th December FACEBOOK EVENT

WHY DO A MUM AND BABY ACTIVITY?

What the experts say ...

INTELLECTUAL & COGNITIVE GROWTH

PIAGET RECOMMENDATIONS

DIY article with baby at home

Having a new born baby is a fantastic time for all however the first few months are particularly interesting and challenging! Your baby develops from a cute bundle to a person who starts to sit, speak, understand, and starts to progress at their own pace. Developmental activities become vital for your baby’s growth and provide a perfect opportunity to create a parental bond between you and your child. Music, singing and sensory items such as soft, cuddly toys provide perfect methods to create activities to help your baby develop.

These provide the perfect opportunity to create that bond between you and your baby but to also socialise your baby.

Thanks to Caitlin Riley for her input.

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