It's quite easy to know if your child loves to dance. From a very tender age you'll see them bobbing up and down and swaying whenever they hear the sound of music. As they age, this bobbing, wiggling and swaying would be replaced by more coordinated dance steps involving the use of the head and hands. But do you as a parent immediately drag them to the nearest dance studio? The question is how soon can/should you enroll your child into dance classes.
The best age to do this is somewhere between ages three and five... Ideally three.
The reason is:
- By the age of three, your child is toilet trained: Running around to change diapers mid-dance is not going to be fun for either your child or his/her instructor. So waiting till he/she is potty trained is best.
- By the age of three, he/she is more used to being in group settings since most children get enrolled into daycare or preschool before this age.
- By the age of three, he/she is usually over the typical separation anxiety characteristic of younger children. At this age, the child just can't wait to get to the dance studio and say bye to his/her parents.
- Younger kids often lack the needed attention span, coordination and physical strength needed during dance lessons.
Toddler dancing should be encouraged because...
- Starting dance at such a tender age helps foster a good self image and confidence in children.
- Dancing keeps them fit, active, agile and energetic.
- Dancing at an early age will improve their coordination, attention to details, concentration and creativity.
- A child introduced to dance at an early age learns to express himself/herself and learns how to interact with other children.
- Getting his/her groove on by dancing improves a child's poise and grace.
- Dance is fun.
If your child is below three what do you do?
If you notice that your child loves to dance, you can encourage it at home. All you would need is danceable music and space for him/her to move around and shake his/her body. Don't forget to join in the fun. He/she would feel more encouraged to dance if there's good dancing company. Perhaps your child has friends of the same age or older who love to dance too, invite them over. It would teach your child to dance with others.
This would also be a good time to discover which type of dance your child is more interested in.
To help you decide on which type of dance is best for him/her...
Show your child as many types of dance as you possibly can. Let your child watch T.V performances or take them to dance recitals in your area. For instance, if you live in Bryan TX, College Station TX, visit some dance studios near you with him/her. Possible options include ballet, tap dance, choreography and hip-hop dance to name a few. As you show them each type, observe which ones appeal to them the most. You'd see them wiggling, cheering, smiling or wanting to join in.