Infant at lesson

Lori Bolt said: Jun 13, 2012
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

How do you handle an infant at a sibling’s lesson?

The baby is coming up on one year old, and has been easily quieted by the nursing mom until about 2 months ago. Now he’s moving around more, wants down, very vocal….sometimes able to be quieted. He seems to enjoy music, causing him to “sing”. I have spoken to the mom to ask her to think about a plan for the baby (she still nurses, works all day) as he is becoming distracting. She understands, so I’m giving it time (we spoke about 2 weeks ago)…..any thoughts or policies?

Lori Bolt

Kim said: Jun 19, 2012
 39 posts

I’m responding as a parent who had to bring my younger child to my older child’s lesson for quite some time. My kids are about 4 years apart and my oldest started at 5, so my daughter started attending lessons about age 1. First thing I was going to say, it’s pretty expensive to pay for lessons AND get a baby sitter to cover the hour you’re going to lesson (plus it’s a bunch more time and effort for a mom coming from work). Second—is it distracting to you as a teacher or to the child taking the lesson? I’m guessing this child practices at home with the baby around all the time, as my oldest did. My oldest could still do ok for age, baby or not (he of course was not super focused at that age, but the presence of his younger sibling didn’t make a huge difference there on weeks with the baby vs. weeks we were able to leave baby behind). If the child isn’t jumping down mid lesson to play with the baby, it’s probably not actually all that distracting to him or her. Third—this was a great lead in to my daughter becoming a Suzuki student (my kids are now just 8 (violin book 3) and almost 12 (piano book 6))

If this is otherwise a good Suzuki family, I would continue to work with them to make their situation as workable as possible during this phase of life for them. I might have some interesting and quiet books or toys available (we had teachers who did this) or encourage the mom to pack some. Starting when my younger was about 2, she’d get a sticker from the teacher if she wasn’t disruptive. If the baby gets really noisy, tell the mom it’s ok to step out for a minute. If we would have had teachers that wouldn’t let my younger sit in, it probably would have meant we might have needed to look for a new teacher or quit lessons which would have been really sad looking at where we are now.

Good luck! :-)

Carrie said: Jun 20, 2012
 
Suzuki Association Member
58 posts

I have found infants and disruptive toddlers and preschoolers to be most distracting to Mom. Mom isn’t able to pay attention and thus doesn’t have to tools to work with their child at home. And, of course, the situation is the same at home: Mom can’t give the child undivided attention at home because of the younger one. It’s not an ideal situation, but I was a mom with several children and no money to pay for lessons, let alone pay a sitter, so I accommodate knowing that while it might not be ideal, it is what needs to be. I have wondered if some of my families could get together and watch each other’s little ones so it wouldn’t be an added expense.

carebear1158

Lori Bolt said: Jun 20, 2012
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

At least the mom is now aware that the baby’s noise is distracting, and tries to get him settled as quickly as possible. She has also stepped outside w/him, but then she is missing what we’re doing inside. Last week Dad also attended lesson. They are trying….

I have always welcomed siblings for the reasons mentioned in the comments, but didn’t have a vocal infant attending until now. I think the baby is most distracting to me (feel like I have to raise my voice to be heard) and the mother, who can’t give her full attention to the lesson.

Lori Bolt

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