Five Quick Tips for New Dance Parents
If you’ve just enrolled your child in dance for the first time, both you and your child are in for a treat. Dance helps develop discipline, responsibility and respect. It boosts self-esteem, teaches teamwork and helps develop wonderful friendships—not just for your dancer but for you, too. But we know: it’s a little overwhelming when you step inside the studio for the first time. That’s why we’ve developed these five quick tips to help you and your dancer get off on the right foot
Label everything, and we mean everything. Get a Sharpie and write your dancer’s name inside their shoes, bags and labels on their leotards and tights. One look at the lost and found at virtually any studio will tell you why that’s essential.
Stock up on twice—no, three times—the number of hairnets and bobby pins you think you’ll need. The hairnets will save you hours of frustration in achieving the perfect bun, and the bobby pins will perpetually disappear. Later, of course, you’ll find them on the floor of your car, the bottom of your child’s dance bag and too many other random places to mention.
Make friends with the other parents. Seriously, other dance parents can become life savers, especially when your child needs a ride to or from dance, when recital comes and definitely should your child join a performance company.
Trust the teacher. We all know our children are exceptional, special little people. So do the teachers. They want your child to have fun, be safe and learn a thing or two—if not about dance, then about life. As parents, we need to respect their expertise, even if it means they don’t advance your dancer to the next level. They’ve seen too many times the injuries and other difficulties that come when dancers advance at a pace that isn’t right for them.
Remember it’s your child’s activity. It’s tempting as parents to project our own hopes and dreams onto our children, but we also know the importance of letting them experience their own journey. So you want a ballet dancer, but it turns out your child has a gift for tap. Let your child tap. That’s the best way to instill a love for the activity and ensure your child gets all the benefits dance can offer.
Any questions along the way? Find that dance mom who’s been around for a while. The parents of children who’ve been dancing a while are happy to take newbies under their wings. And you may just end up with more BFFs yourself.