Encourage your child to become a confident and independent dancer (tips)

A new environment and lots of new faces can be frightening for any child until they feel comfortable in the class. Some children take a few classes to warm up to a studio space, their teacher and classmates. Don’t be concerned if your child is watching and only participating a little in class. Every child is different and bops along at their own pace. I bet they are showing you at home everything that they learned in class that day. They may even be teaching you the moves.

Even though your child may be very shy and feels safer with you in the room, there are other children in the class who are very shy when any parents are present. Children don’t understand why some parents are in the room but their parents aren’t. We live in a world where young children understand fairness and are very quick to point this out to their teachers and parents. To ensure all of the children in the class feel equal and confident while in class, it is often best for parents to wait outside the room while classes are on.

Children gain confidence as they learn dance steps in a class environment. They shine when they realise that they can master moves and that in turn helps them to become more independent. Their creativity will soar. Before you know it they will be performing concerts for you every night…...if you’re lucky! Their imaginations will run wild and they will proudly share their love of dance with you. Enjoy the show!

If you feel as though you're going to miss out, it's important to know that many dance studios offer a parent watching week on the last class of each term where your children will dazzle you with their amazing twists and twirls.

A teacher’s job is to nurture your children. It's their privilege to have the opportunity to be part of your children’s world and share in the wonderment that is their lives as they teach them to dance.

Here are a few more tips to help your child gain more confidence to dance:

- Help them practise

Between lessons, they could be practising their new moves at home. You may like to ask the dance teacher what songs they are dancing to and see if you can find it on iTunes so that your child can practise. Be careful not to instruct them, just let them practise as they wish so they feel even more confident next lesson.

- Praise your child

If you are lucky enough to see them dance, at home or in a class, let them know that you think they're doing a wonderful job. Use words to encourage them to keep going as they are and support them when they ask for it.

- Compare them to yesterday

This is a great opportunity to get them out of the mindset of comparing themselves to other kids. Instead, focus on comparing them to yesterday. They don't need to be the best, they just need to keep improving for themselves. This will also help them to enjoy dance even more.

If you would like more suggestions for improving your child's confidence and independence as a dancer, please contact the expert contributor. Welcome to dance. Enjoy the ride!

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