You may have noticed your child taking a deeper-than-usual interest in music and dancing lately, and if they’ve become physical enough to try and mimic pirouettes performed by characters on movies or TV, it could be a signal. Many young kids have an interest in dancing as a means to express happiness, but does that mean they’re ready for dance lessons?
Before enrolling your child in a dance school, it’s a good idea to analyze their behavior a bit more so that you can determine if they’re ready for it. Many children who enjoy dancing will flourish under the tutelage of a qualified dance studio instructor, while others may fizzle out in short order if their hearts aren’t into it.
GAUGING OVERALL INTEREST
Most children love music and dance, and both can be used as teaching tools to help them grow. Many of us fondly remember watching children dancing their hearts out to the tune of “Now I know my A, B, Cs,” and instances like these can act as gateways to something bigger. However, a child’s overall enthusiasm for music and dance doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready to take lessons.
If your child is showing an active interest in the actual techniques, apparel and philosophy of dance, that may indicate that they’re ready for dance lessons. The key is to gauge just how interested your child is in dance, beyond the generic line that most children resonate to. By analyzing your child’s reactions to dance, you can quickly figure out if there’s a blossoming appreciation that should be cultivated.
YOUR CHILD’S ATTENTION SPAN
Love for dance and enthusiasm to take lessons are good things, but they don’t necessarily make your child right for dance lessons. Children need to be capable of paying attention and following directions in an environment that stresses rudiments and practice in order to excel. For that reason, you should ask yourself if your child can keep up.
Children who have difficulty maintaining their attention may quickly be overwhelmed by dance lessons. They need to be able to focus on the teacher, listen to instructions, and follow along despite distractions from other students in the class. Structured learning requires that children be able to focus on the dance class for a period of time longer than what they’re normally used to. Ask yourself if your child is good at paying attention in school, and following along with the teacher’s instructions. If they excel in the classroom, that’s a good indicator that they will be able to do the same in dance class.
YOUR CHILD’S DETERMINATION
Children are delightfully notorious for trying out a bunch of extracurricular activities, only to drop the majority of them in record time. Therefore, your child may express unbridled enthusiasm and excitement for dance, only to quickly lose interest the moment they are challenged.
Naturally, it can be hard to predict the future, and there’s no way of telling whether your child will develop such a passion for dancing that they stay the course, or whether they succumb to the challenge and drop out. Ask yourself if your child has a history of committing to things, or if they give up too easily. Have they tried other activities in the past and stuck with them over time, or will the ballet shoes be tossed into storage along with the violin and soccer ball?
On the flip side, parents may be able to capitalize on a child’s excitement for dancing by encouraging them to stick with their lessons and what they agreed to commit to, and truly grow as a person. Positive reinforcement can go a long way towards teaching your child the arts of discipline and commitment. In that regard, it could help break your child’s cycle of quitting, and set them on a completely new path.
There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to determining if dance classes are right for your child, but reading between the lines and gauging their behavior and enthusiasm can help. As a parent, you know your child best, but you may also be guilty of looking at them through rose-tinted glasses. Don’t be afraid to identify areas where your child is struggling, especially when it comes to commitment and concentration. It’s an opportunity to turn things around by using dance lessons as a positive teaching method.
If you think your child is ready for dance lessons, we want to hear from you! Contact CDM Dance & Music today, and help broaden their love of the arts while making friends and having fun at the same time. Who knows where their path as a dancer will take them?