Helping Your Kids Prepare for a Dance Performance
Your child has been taking Windsor dance lessons for months and been perfecting their skills. Now, it’s finally time for the big dance recital. It’s an exciting time for the dancers to show off what they’ve been practicing, but it can also be overwhelming for children. Here are six ways to help your child prepare for their dance recital debut.
Helping Them Practice
One of the best ways to build confidence and quell nerves is simply to make sure your child knows the routine. That means taking them to their dance classes regularly. Encourage practice at home. Talk to the dance instructor to see if you can get a video or instructions to the dance for you to practice with at home. Even if you can’t help them go over the steps, be an audience at home and encourage your child to practice frequently.
Don’t Add Pressure
Talk positively about the dance recital so your child doesn’t feel any extra pressure. When you talk about the recital, use uplifting words and tell your child how excited you are to see them try their best. Added pressure can make a child feel like they have to perform perfectly, which can stop them from even wanting to get on stage. Make sure they know that you won’t be mad if they make a mistake. Children can easily pick up on their parents’ emotions, so if you are nervous, your child will likely be able to sense it and may feel more pressured. Click here for more information about unnecessary pressure.
Gather a Cheering Section
Help your child feel loved and supported by gathering a cheering section for the recital. Invite family and friends to come watch your child. Just knowing that parents and loved ones are in the audience can help calm a nervous dancer. If you can’t gather a large in-person cheering section, have friends and family members send supportive messages to show their love.
One of the quickest ways to add to nerves is to be late or forget something on the day of the recital. Stay organized. Make sure you know where and when your dancer needs to be at dance class, dress rehearsal, and the actual performance. Arrive early and give yourself extra time. For young dancers, it can be helpful to walk them exactly where they need to be so they don’t get lost or confused.
Staying organized also means you have everything you need for the performance. The night before the recital, set out every piece of the costume, plus the dance shoes and label every piece. Do a trial run of the entire costume with hair and makeup so that there aren’t any unknowns on the actual day. Be sure to pack more than you need, including extra hairspray, bobby pins, makeup, and snacks. It’s better to be overprepared than to forget something at the last minute.
Focus on the Positive
No matter how well your child dances, focus on the positive. Don’t bring up mistakes they made during the recital. Just celebrate and be happy that they tried their best. Your job is to be a supportive parent, not to critique the dance technique. Before and after the recital, focus on how excited you are and how much fun they’re going to have instead on what could (or did) go wrong. Click here for more positive affirmation suggestions.
Make it Special
Your child has likely been practicing for a long time, so be sure to celebrate and make the recital special. Make them their favorite healthy breakfast the morning of the recital, pack a love note in their costume bag, or put a fun snack in their bag for after the recital. Bring them flowers after the performance or take them out for a fun treat. Celebrating the recital will make them less nervous and more excited for future dance performances. And be sure to take lots of pictures—you’ll want to remember the special performance for a long time.
Dance recitals are exciting and nerve-wracking for both parents and kids. Take time to help your child prepare, and do what you can to have a great recital experience.
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