At two years old, my daughter and her best friend started taking dance class together. It was comforting for both of us to go in with familiar faces. A few weeks into ballet her friend realized that it just wasn’t her thing. She soon left dance to join gymnastics which was perfect for her. Although we were happy for her, we were also sad we wouldn’t be seeing her in class.
It’s always nice to know someone who’s experiencing the same things as you, in this case your first child starting dance lessons. There’s so much excitement and uncertainty at the same time. Now I had no one to share this moment with, so I thought.
Make studio time, social time
I’ve always believed that dance was a great way for my daughter to socialize, but never did I imagine that it was going to be a great way for me to socialize too. We’ve both made some pretty awesome friends over the past few years. Friends we’ve grown with, laughed with and spent time with in and outside the studio. I’ve even been pregnant with some of the other moms (you know who you are!) That was fun…and a whole other thing we could experience together.
We spend a lot of time in the studio watching and waiting for our kids. Most of the time we’re sitting with other parents afraid to say a word. Or, we try to block them out hoping they won’t talk to us. I’ll admit, sometimes the time I get in the studio waiting for my kids is ME time. So yes, I am guilty of staring at my phone whether it’s checking my Facebook feed, catching up on emails or texting an old friend. And that’s okay. But I encourage you this year to put your phone away and say hello to another mom, or dad sitting in the room. You never know, they just might become your new BFF!
Meet other Dance Moms & Dads
Social, or not, there are many benefits of meeting new dance moms and dads. Here are 7 reasons why.
- To celebrate the ups. There are many victories in dance. You’ll want to share them with the people around you, other dance moms and dads. Your kids are learning and growing together, that’s something to celebrate. Come production time, there is a lot of cuteness going on and you won’t be able to contain yourself, go on tell someone, I’m sure they’re waiting for you to ask them which one their darling baby is.
- To be there for the downs. Along with the joys of being a dance parent, come the not-so-glamorous moments. Many times our kids will give us a hard time before class, or they just don’t want to go in. Maybe they’re that one kid who isn’t paying attention, or maybe they’re just getting on our last nerve. Who better to share your frustrations with than your new dance mom friend.
- To be an example. We can be role models to our kids who aren’t having the best of luck making friends in class. Showing them that you can make friends as an adult might give them the courage they need to say hello to a dance mate. You might even set up some playdates outside of class so you can all spend time together.
- To get some help. They say it takes a village to raise a child. That follows us into the studio, especially for working parents and those with multiple kids. I’ve had my fair share of asking for help from putting on makeup, fixing hair, putting on shoes, going to the bathroom. The list goes on. You will need help one day and it will be comforting to know you have someone to call. My best experience came from making some friends who really helped me outside the studio when my girl was in the hospital. They found out on Facebook why we weren’t in class that week. A few hours later, a special delivery came to the hospital from these moms to help both my daughter and me feel better. It’s something I will never forget.
- To have a life. Parents, it’s okay to have a life. Even when you’re driving your kids from school to dance class. Make some friends, and again schedule some playdates. Take time to chat with other parents about your day, find out what you have in common. Build your network of friends.
- To have fun and peace of mind. You’ll have fun with other dance parents laughing at your kids, watching them practice and perform. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing that someone else is keeping a good eye out for your little one when you need to step out to use the bathroom or grab a cup of coffee… because you know, they just might bring one back for you!
- To feel like part of the family. Making friends with other dance parents will make you feel like you have an extended family. When you attend dance events you can sit next to each other and catch up. When you run into each other at Target, it’s like bumping into a long lost cousin, you catch up on dance and find out what’s in their cart!
Don’t just take it from me though. Dance mom, Jennifer Hill says,
“When you befriend other dance parents you can be sure you always have an extra set of eyes keeping your kids on track… be it helping with getting on a pair of jazz shoes or keeping them safe and looking performance ready back stage on production day. They become your extended family and that feels good! And not to mention it’s nice to have friends where you spend so much time, and you will spend lots of time at the studio.”
Have you made lifelong friends from taking your kids to dance class? We’d love to hear your stories. Share them by leaving a comment 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!