The big day is here, and you’re taking your child to their very first dance lesson! It’s an exciting day full of discovery, but it could prove to be nerve-wracking for children who don’t know what to expect.
Get your child ready for their first dance lesson by taking these preparatory steps:
The first day of dance class is a lot like the first day of school – something that is doubly true for a young child who isn’t yet enrolled in a school. For some children, this will be the first time they will be separated from their parents for an extended period of time. If caught unaware, this could be very upsetting and make for a bad experience.
Young children may be prone to separation anxiety, and so you need to familiarize them with the new experience as much as you can.
If your child is enrolled in an independent class (versus a “Parent & Tot” class), the parent should emotionally and mentally prepare him or her. Tell your child that “The class is for big kids, and mommy’s and daddy’s are not allowed in the classroom.” It may even be helpful to bring them to a class beforehand for them to watch, or to show a video of a children’s dance lesson so they can see it for themselves.
This preparation starts at home and should be mentioned multiple times. Parents should ask the dance studio what to expect in terms of if they are permitted in the class or not, or, if it is a drop-off situation, where will the drop-off be? Can parents observe? It is best to find out upon registration, and not when they arrive.
Wearing the right clothes is very important for a children’s dance class. Proper attire helps movement, gives comfort, and provides a cohesive learning experience that shows respect to traditions. What’s more, many dance schools require students to adhere to a dress code. To prepare for this, you’ll need to buy the right clothes beforehand.
When registering for the dance lesson, be sure to inquire about uniform requirements at the dance school, or research it later on their website (like we do here). Each dance style requires its own specialized clothing: ballet dancers need to wear leotards and ballet slippers, while hip hop dancers should wear loose fitting clothes and sneakers.
When it comes to young children, a good tip would be to have your dancers already dressed beforehand, even if it means wearing the dance clothes underneath their regular clothes. This will allow your young one to quickly get ready for class without delay.
A children’s dance lesson isn’t something that requires a major commitment, but there are some things that parents can do to make it run smoothly.
Before a dance lesson, ensure that your child:
- Is well fed, or at least had a snack beforehand;
- Is well rested; and
- Had used the bathroom before class.
Another suggestion would be to bring dance-friendly gear like a water bottle and hair ties, and maybe additional snacks and drinks if necessary..
Reward & Support
Your support and encouragement mean everything to your child, and they’ll be needing it after a big experience like a first dance lesson. And if your kind words aren’t enough, consider giving a reward to your child after the lesson. This could be a treat that they can eat on the spot, or perhaps going to a favourite restaurant afterwards as a way to recognize their efforts and good behaviour. Who knows – it could even lead to a new family tradition that you share with your child!
By taking these preparations, you’re well on your way to having your child receive all the benefits that a dance class can give them!