Kids have a hard enough time trying to fit in as it is, which is why it’s important to foster a sense of self-confidence in them from an early age. Dance classes are a great way to inspire that confidence, by teaching them skills and techniques that allow them to express themselves through dance. This kind of self-confidence can pay dividends for years to come, giving kids a much needed boost as they grow into adulthood.
However, it’s important that your child not feel overwhelmed in the presence of other dancers. Everyone progresses at a different pace, and some kids may feel either overwhelmed, or inadequate when it comes to their dance skills. This can potentially hobble their self-confidence and development. So, how can parents help their kids get over this hurdle and feel more attuned to the rest of the class? Just follow some simple pointers.
FIGURE OUT THE REASON
Many kids may express feelings of self-doubt or inadequacy as they progress through dance classes, but it can sometimes be hard to pinpoint the exact reason. Specifics matter here, as kids tend to isolate and identify particulars that make them feel a certain way. Try to find out if they are comparing themselves to another dancer with better technique, poise or body type. Once you learn the exact specifics leading to the issue, you’ll have a foundation from which to tackle it. Even better, you will also get to know your child more intimately by seeing how s/he sees the world.
Kids are especially vulnerable to things like body insecurities and social awkwardness, which is why it’s important to keep them upbeat. If they take themselves too seriously, it can migrate towards their dance development. Focusing on a healthy and balanced lifestyle, while using positive reinforcement when it comes to things like growth as a dancer is important. Remind your child that they are growing every day, and with a little focus and perseverance, they can attain their goals. It’s also helpful to suggest to your kids that a great dancer may encounter difficulties of their own in later lessons. This will help them understand that nobody is perfect, and each person has their own weak points they need to work on.
REPLACE ENVY WITH COMPLIMENTS
Sometimes a child going through a rough time can feel as if all they need is encouragement and compliments from others. While this is true, kids can take the first step by actually dishing out compliments to other dancers. If a particular dancer is feeling insecure or envious towards another dancer, encourage them to flip the script, and congratulate that dancer instead. What may follow is a long-lasting friendship that will serve to encourage both. Your child may find that this other dancer is supportive, and willing to give them a helping hand. Kindness is usually repaid with kindness, and the good news is that it doesn’t cost anything.
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN THE ‘FALL DOWN’ METAPHOR
Every kid needs to realize that the reason we fall down, is to learn how to pick ourselves back up. Unfortunately, many in society today are far more willing to reinforce negative feelings by offering pity, rather than encouragement. While it does require some TLC to get this message across, your child should always know that failing is just a part of the path to greatness. Only by falling down can we learn how to grow stronger, better, and more acute. This is especially true when it comes to dance. If your child can learn to master the ability to stay positive, even when they fail, and view those failures as a brand new opportunity for success, they’ll turn out a winner.
COMPETITION IS HEALTHY, IN MODERATION
Competition is a great way for kids to gain self-confidence, and it’s something that even adults need to be reminded of from time to time. However, care should be taken not to fall victim to the trappings of competition, such as arrogance, pride and stubbornness. Competition should be a positive experience, and fun for everyone involved. While a child may think it’s not always fun to come in second, it is an opportunity for kids to pat themselves on the back by achieving a great milestone. Similarly, kids who turn up in first place should learn the value of winning graciously, and the importance of good sportsmanship and humility.
Kids have always had it rough when it comes to self-confidence, and that’s part of the growing up process. By instilling a proper perspective in your child, you can help build up a strong character foundation that will help them excel through their dance training, and far beyond. Make sure your child understands that in the end, the only person they’re really competing against is themselves.
For more information on how CDM Dance helps foster self-confidence in our students through the wonderful art of dance and music, please contact us! We’re certain your child will love the positive enthusiasm we bring to each class.