So, you signed your kiddo up for their first dance class—congratulations! Dance is a great way to teach your child about discipline, body awareness, and movement in a fun, uplifting environment. (Not to mention, it helps burn off some of the endless supply of energy they seem to have when they get home from school. ☺)
I’m sure you’re sitting there asking yourself “now what?” Being a dance parent can be overwhelming the first time around; but once you settle into your new studio home, the experience will be enjoyable for both you and your child.
Here are a few helpful tips to get you started:
- Arrive Early- Especially on your first day of class, allow 10-15 extra minutes for your child to get changed, get their hair up, and to fill out any last-minute paperwork if necessary. It is also a good idea to make sure younger children use the restroom before going to class (even if they say they don’t need to go), as it can be distracting for the teacher and the other students when they leave the room early. From there, you can check in with the front desk, find your child’s classroom, and meet their teacher.
- Get Familiar with the Dress Code- You wouldn’t send your child to swim lessons without the proper attire—so why would you send them to dance class without the right gear? Many studios will give you a copy of their dress code when you register or have it published on their website. Which leads right into our next tip…
- Stay Informed- As a dance parent, it is your responsibility to stay informed with studio happenings. Most studios will post important information at the studio and on their website, as well as email out a monthly newsletter and other important reminders (studio closures, reminders, etc.) as needed. If you’re not too sure where to find the information you need, reach out to the front desk or your child’s teacher to stay in the know.
- Trust Your Child’s Teacher- A reputable studio will hand-select each teacher they bring in to teach your child’s classes. Dance teachers spend countless hours preparing class material, creating fun playlists, and coming up with new ways to keep their students engaged. They want nothing more than to help your child succeed in the classroom and on stage—and has a plan to help your child look and feel their best each week. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s time in class, reach out to your studio’s front desk so they can get you connected with their teacher.
- Note: Younger dancers may take some time to get adjusted to the new class environment—it is normal for them to be shy or not want to participate right away. Reassure them that they will have fun and make friends quickly—but don’t pressure them or get frustrated if they are hesitant to take a class. Sometimes it’s best to have them watch on the first day to get a feel for the class flow and their new teacher. Encourage independence but stay nearby in case they are inconsolable or cause a disruption.
- Encouragement Goes a Long Way- Your kiddo gets plenty of feedback and constructive criticism from their instructors in class; what they need is someone to cheer them on from the sidelines (or in this case, the studio waiting room/audience). Instead of giving them feedback or critiques on their performance, let them know in your own meaningful words how proud you are of their hard work and love to watch them perform. Your love and support play a huge role in your child’s success in and out of the classroom.
Finally—enjoy the ride! Your child’s participation in dance will equip them with skills that help them in the classroom and out in the world. By being proactive and using the resources provided by your studio, your first dance experience will be pleasant and hassle-free.