Nurturing your child - how to help build confidence and security in your little one and integrating into class.
|Posted on August 14, 2017 at 10:10 AM|
by: Amy L. Aichele-
As parents of toddlers and pre-schoolers, you do everything to help your child navigate through the ups and downs of childhood and survive with self-esteem. You praise their every accomplishment, and encourage them to discover the world around them through play and activities. At some point many parents will decide to sign their child up for a more formal activity, such as dance. This will encourage them to make friends with other children who have similar interests. By doing so, your child will continue to grow and learn through play and movement.
Prior to the first day of class, much time is spent getting the necessary materials that your child will need, and talking about their first dance class. The excitement mounts the closer that the “big day” gets, until finally that day arrives.
To help your child build confidence and make their transition into the classroom smooth, here are a few tips to help both the parent as well as the child.
Register and choose/purchase needed materials early
It helps to come into the studio prior to the first week of classes with your child. Meet the staff and some of the teachers. Ask any questions that you may have and walk around the facility. This will help both you and your child to acclimate prior to the hustle and bustle of the first day of class.
Arrive early on the first day
When you walk into the studio for the first class it is o.k. to come a little early. Use the restrooms as well as meet some of your child’s fellow class mates, their parents, and the assistants who will be working with your child. These are going to be some of your dances first friends, outside of family, and some may be in their life for a very long time.
Stay with your child until class starts
There may be other classes that are going on at this time or will be changing while you wait. It is essential, especially for younger dancers, to remain close to their parents and patiently waiting for class to start. The moments before they enter the classroom can become a bit overwhelming for our youngest dancers as the older dancers quickly exit or enter their classrooms. Additionally this is part of the preparation to achieve focus before class begins.
Meet and say hi to your child’s instructor
Once the teacher enters the classroom, the assistant teachers will help the dancers to line up and enter as well. They will assist them in bring in any needed shoes and dance bags. This is essential. Not only does it help the instructors to keep class running smoothly, it also helps the dancer to learn responsibility for their items.
Parting with your child
As hard as it is as a parent to part with their child that first class, this is an extremely important step in helping your child to gain confidence that they are in a safe and secure environment. The more efficient that this process is, the instructor can then get the class started and your child’s focus will be onto the activities at hand. Please know that it is natural for a child to be excited for class and then once entering the classroom start to cry. This is especially true for younger dancers. Often times the tiniest of dancers just don't have the vocabulary to say “wait a second, I thought that you were staying too”, or “hey, who are all of these new people”. This uncertainty may be expressed through tears.
Work with the assistants and instructor
It is important to work with the assistants and instructor to assure that all is o.k. You will be right outside the door or observing from a viewing window. In doing this you are showing your child that you trust them as well as the instructor. While this may be difficult at first, this is a huge step in empowering your child with self-confidence. The crying will diminish over time as your dancer gains confidence in the teacher and themselves. Additionally, self-esteem increases when a child feels confident in the classroom.
Follow up with the assistants and instructor. In doing so you are not only learning how your child is doing in class, but also showing your child that you are a team that is there for them and that cares about them.
While progress may appear to be slow for some dancers do not feel discouraged. Trust and self-confidence take time. Some children will jump right in while others may be more visual learners, needing more time to take things in as well as adjust to new activities and people. Over time your child will learn about trust, develop interpersonal skills and friendships, of which are key to their personal growth and development.
Categories: Children's Dance