It’s the first day of your new job….
You just moved to a new neighborhood….
You are stepping out onto the weight room floor for the first time ever….
We all know how daunting firsts can be.
I’m getting butterflies in my stomach just thinking about them! Guess what? Our kids are just like us; firsts are scary. And even if your little dancer has been shimmying all over the living room or begging to sign up for ballet lessons, the first day of dance class is no different.
When all is said and done, your dancer is probably going to have a fabulous time in class. Most kids do!
Still, there are few things you can do at home to be proactive and set your child up to walk into their first class with confidence and a smile:
1. Feed and water them.
I know, sounds obvious. But, take extra care to make sure their basic needs are met. Our kids don’t perform well when they’re tired, hungry or thirsty. It’s hard for adults to behave well when they’re hangry, let alone kids! Try to get them a good night’s sleep the night before dance, and make sure they’ve had some fuel in the tank before they hit their first day of classes.
2. Love on your dancer for a few minutes.
Make sure your kiddos have had full eye contact with you and a good hug or two at some point during the day. Your kids aren’t going to let you out of their sight to go to dance if what they’re really craving is some attention from you.
3. Go to the bathroom before class starts.
Even older dancers need to “try.” No child can concentrate if all they’re thinking about is how bad they have to poop. Gross yes, but oh so true. Also, our time on the dance floor is limited; we don’t want to waste it in the potty.
4. Show up 10 minutes early so you have time to spare.
Having a few extra minutes to use the bathroom, put up the hair and change shoes is nice. Walking in calmly and chatting with each other about how fun dance is going to be will make a night-and-day difference over dragging your child across the parking lot and shouting, “Hurry UP!” (Not judging, we’ve all been there!)
5. Pack the dance bag with the essentials the night before.
Younger dancers need an organized parent or adult for this. Older dancers can have a checklist and do it themselves. Either way, make sure you have dress code pieces and a right and left of every dance shoe, dance folder or journal, pencil, extra hair tie, water bottle and maybe a healthy snack.
6. Unpack the dance bag of non-essentials.
It is more of a distraction than a help if the bag is giant and full of extras. Kids can’t find what they need quickly and they get caught up checking on their dolly (or their boyfriend) when there’s toys and technology in the bag.
7. Kiss and GO.
This can be the trickiest part. If you have an anxious predancer, your first inclination is probably to hold their hand, offer to hang out and watch a few minutes, dance alongside them, etc. Then the crocodile tears start and you don’t want to leave when your dancer is crying hysterically. How COULD you? We get it. It’s so hard as a parent! But it’s also like ripping off a band-aid: slower is WAY worse. Just kiss, and head out the door. The quicker you make your move, the faster we can get your dancer some happy feet. We’ll call you if we can’t get it worked out. (And we’ve never had to make that call.)
8. Encourage dancing outside of class whenever you can, but don’t force it. We don’t want your child to have a bunch of homework or feel like dance is a chore.
9. Show interest.
Dancing isn’t your jam? That’s okay. You don’t need to take your child to see a full length Ballet. But, why not ask your dancer to teach you something from class? Or watch a few youtube clips together about a style they’re learning. Get a little square of plywood you can slide out from under your coffee table for an impromptu tap show. Play Just Dance together on the Xbox. The possibilities are endless!
10. Stay in the loop.
We’ll do everything we can to make sure you know what’s happening in the studio. Check the Facebook or Instagram pages, read our newsletters and updates, email with questions, etc. We are here to help you feel at home, and we know when you feel comfortable in your dance family, your child will too!
It’s going to be a wonderful First Day at The Dance Effect Performing Arts Center!
Looking for a dance studio in the Spring City, Royersford or Phoenixville area? Call or email The Dance Effect PAC today for a free trial.
Originally posted by Elevate Dance Online. Edited and shared with permission.