The Complete Guide for Parents of Dancers
Updated July 27, 2020
There’s nothing quite like seeing your child learn to dance and perform. Parents of dancers get a unique look at what it takes to become a dancer. Entering the world of dance is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. First-time dance parents may be unaware of the many challenges and opportunities that come with dance and likely have questions about what it takes to be a supportive and prepared dance parent.
You’re not alone—no matter if your child is taking their first dance class or moving to a higher competitive level, this guide provides valuables resources and information for dance parents.
8 Things Every New Dance Mom Should Know
Entering the world of dance lessons for kids is exciting, but it can also be a little overwhelming. Here are eight helpful tips for first-time dance parents to make dance lessons and performances enjoyable for you and your child.
Talk to Other Parents
Dance parents are a strong community. The parents of other dancers can be your biggest support system and resource. Talk to other moms and dads during class and get to know their kids. Many parents have had their kids in dance for years and they can give you advice and tips.
Don’t Compare Your Kid to Other Dancers
Every child progresses at their own pace. Don’t compare your child to other dancers or expect them to all learn the steps and move to different levels at the same time. Focus on encouraging your child to do their best and have fun without worrying about what other people are doing.
Get the Right Shoes and Clothes
Just like having the right sports equipment is vital to success on the court or field, having the right dance equipment is crucial to a dancer’s success.
Trust the Teachers
It can be hard to sit back and watch your child learn something new, especially if they are having a hard time mastering a new dance step. Don’t jump in to help your kid during the middle of class. Trust the teachers. They are experienced dancers and know what they’re doing.
Organize Costumes and Accessories
Performances and competitions can be a flurry of excitement, especially when dancers must bring multiple costumes and accessories. Keep everything organized in garment bags to avoid wrinkles or damage to the costumes. Organize accessories in plastic bags and make sure everything is labeled with your child’s name. Take pictures of your child in the costume with all the accessories on and put it in the bag so they know exactly how the costume should look. Organizing your things before the performance helps ensure that nothing gets damaged or left behind.
Here’s a great resource to learn how to pack a dance costume bag.
Bring Extra Supplies
Pack a dance bag with extra tights, leotards, socks, bobby pins, Band-Aids, and other supplies your dancer might need. This is especially important for performances, but it can also be useful during regular dance classes. The last thing you want is for your child’s tights to tear during the middle of rehearsal without any replacements. Here’s an article with more ideas on what to pack.
Bring Snacks to Rehearsals and Performances
Dress rehearsals and performances can be long. Keep your dancer’s energy up by bringing snacks and extra water. It may seem like a little thing, but it can help make a long day go much more smoothly. Just remember to pack snacks that can be eaten quickly and aren’t messy, so they don’t ruin the costume.
Kids learn many important life skills in dance class like confidence, discipline, and dedication. But, above all, kids should be expressing their creativity and having fun.
One of the biggest challenges for parents of dancers is helping their child balance dance with their many other responsibilities, including school. The following guide provides tips to set your child up for success in school and dance.
5 Ways to Help Your Child Balance School and Dance
You have an aspiring dancer and a busy school student. It can be difficult to stay on top of your child’s many activities, especially as they foster their talent for dance with a dance class while also striving to do well in school. As a parent, your job is to help your child find balance between school and dance so they can learn, grow, and develop good habits.
Here are five tips for helping your child stay on top of school and dance lessons.
Create a Daily Schedule
One of the best ways to establish balance at home is to create a daily schedule. When your child knows what to expect next, the entire day goes more smoothly. Find ways to work both school and dance into your daily schedule. Your schedule could include waking up at a certain time and getting some homework done before going to school. After school could include dance lessons before family dinner and more homework. A daily schedule removes daily choices and makes it easy to know what to do next. Another bonus is that a daily schedule helps you and your child prioritize their most important activities and tasks for the day. Every family’s daily schedule will be different, but the important thing is to find the routine that works for you.
Find a way that works for you to stay organized. It doesn’t matter how you do it—a paper planner, online calendar, or a big family calendar for everyone to see. Create one central place to put all of your appointments and deadlines, including homework assignments, school projects, dance lessons, and performances. It can be a lot for a kid to know where they need to be and when they need to be there. Staying organized will help you create a routine and see when you’re double-booked in advance, instead of being surprised at the last minute. Putting all of your appointments in one calendar may seem overwhelming at first, but once you find a system that works for you and your family, you’ll likely find that calendar becomes a lifeline to staying organized.
As a family, sit down and set boundaries. What are your priorities? What are things that can’t be interrupted by dance? These boundaries are different for each family and can be agreed upon by everyone involved. Some families may set a boundary that no matter how busy things are with school or dance, the child needs to be in bed by 9 p.m. each night. Other families may say that the child can only stay in dance lessons if he or she gets certain grades in school. Find the boundaries that work for your family and align with your priorities.
Be All In
With multiple activities, it’s easy to always be thinking ahead to the next thing. But worrying about a homework assignment during dance class doesn’t do anyone any good. It leads to a distracted dancer who isn’t getting all they can out of their class. Encourage your child to be all in—when they’re at school, their total focus should be on school. When they’re at dance, their total focus should be on dance. Set the example with the same mindset yourself. Enjoy the moment without worrying about what will happen next in another area.
Give Them Time to Relax
No matter how serious your child is about dance or school, remember that they are still a kid. Give them time to relax and hang out with friends and family. Encourage them to find a hobby that lets them completely unwind, like reading or playing outside. Dance and school teach discipline and other incredibly valuable skills, but kids also benefit from unstructured time. If you need to, put downtime in the calendar and don’t let other things get in the way of that time for your kid to relax and just be a kid.
Being a dance parent is busy and exciting. You get to enter a new world and watch your child grow and learn new skills. Stay involved and be invested in their success to join in the journey.