Dancing is a really good and fun way of encouraging your child to exercise. Not only can they keep fit and healthy by taking part in dance classes but they can also develop lots of new skills, as well as meet plenty of other children who they wouldn’t otherwise have met. Dance classes also have an extremely positive influence on children’s development, for instance helping to improve their self-confidence and acceptance of their body.
Some children may put up some resistance to starting dance class, and this will usually be out of embarrassment, which is inherent in children, or even as a result of their non-dancing friends teasing or winding them up about it.
So, here are some handy tips to help you introduce the idea of dancing to your child, which will hopefully make everything flow a lot smoother:
What age is best to start them off?
Unfortunately, there is no set age. However, the younger they are, the more likely they are going to be to take to it. Although, it is worth taking your child’s attention span into account; some children as young as two are able to cope with structured dance classes, whilst others cannot focus at all.
If you feel your child is too young to be able to focus in a structured dance class, consider enrolling them in freedom of movement classes, where they can dance any way they choose. This way, they can still learn about how their body moves and develop their own rhythm.
The best time to introduce your child to dancing will also depend on what your child’s characteristics and personality are like. For instance, if they are very extrovert and outgoing, they will probably take to dance class as if it’s their second nature. If, however, they are naturally quite shy, you may find they react negatively and develop a real hatred for is, especially if forced into it.
Choosing their dance clothes
Before introducing your child to a new dance class, it is a very good idea to enquire about what all the other children wear. You most definitely don’t want your child turning up in the wrong kind of clothes since it might make them feel awkward and shy and they may not want to go back to the class.
Typically, most dance classes will require your child to wear clothing they find comfortable, since children will most certainly not pay attention if they are uncomfortable. Some classes will just require your child to wear a leotard and leggings with plimsolls, whilst others might require a uniform or specific costume of sorts, i.e. ballet or Latin dancing.
Make sure your child is involved as much as they can be when choosing their clothes. This will get them more excited about the class and make them feel less nervous when joining in, since they’ll be comforted by being dressed in something they’ve chosen.
Ensuring they have fun
In general terms, dancing is always fun but it can also be a lot of hard work. A lot of children can lose focus when too many terms or dance moves are being thrown at them. In order to make sure they are continuing to have lots of fun, make sure you attend a class every now and again. They may not always be honest with you about how much they are getting involved or how much fun they are (or are not) having, so attending the class will give you this insight.
Dance class should be fun and if your child is not having as much fun as they used to, it may be time to transfer them to another type of dance class. A different dance style may give them a bit more enjoyment and it may also encourage them to interact and play with a brand new set of friends, which is always fun for kids.
Laura writes for Danceforce. When not blogging about ballet bags, she can often be found trying to convince her children that dancing is actually fun.