Has your dancer ever said they were done with dance? Gasp! I’ve heard it before, not exactly in those words, but as a parent, any way you spin it, it stings. Especially when they are so good at it.
When my girl first started dancing she would be so excited about shopping for a tutu, trying on tap shoes and jumping into class. As she got a little older her tastes began to change and her excitement was nowhere to be found. I was like, “who is this girl?” I know she loves to dance, she does it everyday, but why has going to dance become such a chore? If you ever find yourself in the same boat, here are some things you might want to ask yourself.
Is my dancer overstimulated or overworked? If your child has too many activities during the week, it may be that they just need to take a little break. You may even consider eliminating certain activities your family is committed to. Let your kids be kids and make sure they have enough time to unwind after school, and even after dance.
Is my dancer ready to try a new style of dance? Kids tend to get bored easily, some more than others. Offer some variety by letting them take a different class. For example, if they’ve been doing ballet and tap for the last two years, mix it up a little and let them try hip hop or musical theater. This might be the key to keeping them in dance altogether. Your child may gravitate to one style of dance more than another, and that’s okay, as long as they keep dancing. Empower them to choose which classes they want to take. Work with them on schedules and talk to your dance teacher for guidance.
Is my dancer having a hard time keeping up? Some people are natural born dancers, others need to try a little harder. Watch your child during class and if it seems like they may be struggling with certain moves consider setting them up for a private lesson. Chances are they still love dance, but just need a little extra help. After a few privates, they may find the confidence they need to remain on the dance floor with their peers.
After asking yourself these questions you can decide which of the following ideas are best suitable to help your dancer refocus, be motivated and find inspiration.
Ideas to Motivate
- Remind them of their dance successes. Watch past performances and pull out the old photos to reminisce about their first recital. Talk about how proud you are of them and how excited you were to see them on stage. Show them happy they were. Ask them how they feel and if there is anything they need.
- Buy new dance gear. Parents be sure to set a budget, a new sparkly tutu just might do the trick, and be just the amount of motivation your dancer needs to get back on the saddle.
- Watch a dance movie or musical. Some of my favorites are Honey, Step Up (the first one with Channing) and Save the Last Dance. My kiddo loves the new Disney Descendants and the classic High School Musical and Teen Beach Movie. Mind you, she’s only 5. These movies will get them dancing and having fun!
- Read a dance book. Pull out an old ballerina book or gift them a new one that is just as encouraging. Read the book together and talk about their feelings afterward.
- Set some goals. Talk with your dancer about their overall goals, then discuss some specific dance goals. Share these goals with friends and teachers for accountability. They may or may not change, but you can always look back on them to see how much they’ve grown. Not to mention, it’s pretty rewarding.
At the end of the day, you know your child best, be patient, give them time. And as much as you might want to, do not force them to dance. Let them know you support them no matter what. Encourage them always and do what you can to nurture their talent. Being their biggest fan will make them happy and boost their self-esteem, even if they never let you know.
Has your dancer ever wanted to throw in the towel? What did you do to encourage them to keep going? We’d love to hear your stories and ideas. Share them in the comments below.
Angela Quisumbing is a dance mom of two! She is the founder and editor of The Pinky Project, a local community blog serving and celebrating moms in and around Mira Mesa. Her kids are in Boppin’ Tots and Hip Hop. She hopes to join them in taking classes soon!