As children prepare for preschool and begin to participate in more structured activities, a dance class is a perfect way to help your child to learn to separate from you happily.
The first few days or weeks of any new activity can be quite daunting for young students. Whilst some children jump right in with both feet, many may take a more cautious approach, using their first classes to watch or sometime participate minimally. Gentle encouragement may help shy or frightened children adjust but most will participate when they are ready because they don’t want to miss out on the fun.
Young children, when feeling insecure may insist (through body language, tears or words) that they feel safer with the parent in the room. It may be hard for you to resist prolonging or avoiding your departure to comfort your child or avoid tantrums. Often, the goodbye is the hardest part for both parents and child, however, many children who cry and become distressed when a parent leaves quickly recover once the class has begun.
I have often found that children in dance class have a tough time concentrating and fully engaging in class when parents are present. Children sometimes become shy in the presence of unfamiliar faces and it is a rare child that can resist either running back and forth between class and their own parent or acting-up before an attentive audience.
As a teacher who is also a mother, I feel strongly that parents have a right to observe classes. However, we schedule times throughout the year for this purpose, which allows all concerned to prepare the children for this special event so that they can be attentive and productive in class while you quietly view from the sidelines.
Here are some tips that might help you, help us, and establish a good routine for our classes:
1. Play games. Hide and seek helps toddlers learn and about separation if a fun and non-threatening manner.
2. Never sneak away. Always tell the child when you are going and when you will be back. Our studios have large clocks hanging on the walls. You can show them where the big hand will be when you will return. Make sure your time piece is the same as ours and return punctually as promised.
3. Prepare the children for your departure. Explain to them ahead of time what will happen so that they will know what to expect. We often have older students dancing concurrently in one of our other studios, so you can show them that parents don’t stay and watch the classes.
4. Our teachers are very consistent so that your children will grow to know them and become familiar with them. They all have up to date Working With Children Checks and First Aid Certificates. Be confident that we will look after and love your child and do our very best for them. Be calm and don’t add to their anxiety. If you are unsure, your child will pick up on it and not feel confident either.
5. Talk to them about their teacher and what will happen during the week and remind them of the fun they had last week. Put music on at home and encourage them to dance for you.
When it’s time to leave, don’t prolong it. Children may cry a few minutes, but usually, as soon as you are gone they are over it.
6. Stay close by outside and we will come and get you if they do not settle.
We'd love the opportunity to show your little star the joy of dance in our classes.