Dance classes are proven to be beneficial for toddlers. It’s also a win-win situation for parents who want to buy some time for work or doing house chores. But the question is this: is your child ready? Knowing when to start dance lessons for toddlers is where most parents struggle to decide. Toddlers are balls of energy and they are easily hooked to music and dance. However, this very same thing can be a problem. Too much adrenaline can send a kid running like mad across the studio which won’t just affect his learning, but also test the patience of the teacher.
It’s not actually difficult to tell if you have a dancing superstar at home. Just play a groovy song and watch as that little body burst into random dance steps. But there are also kids who are not having it. Parents shouldn’t force a child to join a class if he’s not physically, mentally, and emotionally ready.
So to guide you whether it’s the right time or not, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Will my child enjoy it?
Like what I said earlier, it’s not hard to know if your kid is a natural dancer. If he or she enjoys showing the twirls and spins in front of relatives and visitors, it might be the right time to enroll in a dance class. A dance program for toddlers is an excellent way to channel the energy of your child while he or she exercises.
But if your kid is a bit grumpy at the time, you may want to wait for a few months. You can use this time to introduce him to the idea of dancing and how fun it could be. Again, don’t force the kid if he’s not into it yet. Knowing when to start dance lessons for toddlers is a matter of conditioning the kid.
2. How’s my kid’s attention span?
Can your kid listen for at least five minutes at a time? Most dance classes for kids will have the teacher instructing in intervals. If your child’s attention span is still short, you may want to wait until he or she is a bit older. You can also train the child to follow instructions by asking him to fetch some things from the other table or to collect his toys.
Lack of attention is normal for toddlers. They have so much energy that it eats up so much of their focus. This will likely tone done as they grow old or while you train them at home.
If you’re not sure, take your child to a dance class studio and allow them to observe. If they seem to follow, you can enroll him or her.
3. Is my child aloof of other people/kids?
Not all kids are outgoing and love social interaction. Some toddlers are shy and will stick like glue to their parents. Knowing when to start dance lessons for toddlers gets tricky on this part. This can be both a sign that you should enroll the kid or just wait for a while. Dance class is intended to boost the communication and self-confidence of a child. If you introduce it slowly, there’s a chance that the kid will love it and fight his shyness.
In case conditioning your child doesn’t work, you should start introducing him to other kids. Let him play with other children during a family gathering or let him meet other adults. Chances are your child has trust issues with other people. Somehow, this is normal and will go away after several interactions.
4. Will it be beneficial for his age?
The toddler age is a crucial phase of developing the body and character of a child. They absorb what’s around them, and if you immerse the kid in a learning environment, he or she will benefit. Dancing will improve his coordination, motor skills, speech, social skills, and self-expression. It will take a few tantrum sessions at the start, but this phase should send as the class progresses. So if you’re wondering when to start dance lessons for toddlers, a younger age will be best.
Some parents prefer to start their kids at a very young age, sometimes at a very infant stage of 18 months. As much as you want to do the same, check if the studio you choose is accepting such age. There are programs dedicated to toddlers of specific age brackets.
5. Is the dance style suited for him?
There are tons of dance class styles offered for toddlers. Some of the most popular options are ballet, hip-hop, tap dance, jazz, and creative dance. Each of these dance types will suit kids of varying personalities. Those who are highly energetic will love hip-hop and creative dance. Meanwhile, kids (or at least their parents) who want traditional dances will thrive in ballet, tap dance, and jazz. Besides, these traditional options are appealing to the kids because of the colorful and unique costumes.
It’s important that the dance is something your child loves to do. Ask him about his wants. If you’re not sure, play various songs from these genres and see where he or she grooves the most.
6. Does my kid experience separation anxiety?
Separation anxiety is one of the dilemmas of parents, may it be for school, dance classes, or just leaving the house. It’s one of the hindrances when to start dance lessons for toddlers. If your kid keeps on throwing a crying fest, it might be hard to introduce him or her to a dance class, unless you’re open to the idea of the Mommy and Me program. This dance program requires the parent or guardian to join the dancing lessons. It helps the kids adjust to the new environment with their parent on the side.
Most of the time, separation anxiety is a phase. Me, for one, has experienced the same thing when I was in grade school. It went away after a few weeks. As a parent, you just have to be patient.
7. Is he easily irritated?
Is your child a grumpy baby? Kids come in different shapes and sizes and one thing I’ve learned is that not all toddlers will love the presence of other kids. There would be cute shoving that will happen until someone’s crying because your child sent a fist right into the other kid’s face. Depending on the situation, kids normally lose their temper. But if your kid has a notorious history, you may want to wait a bit until they outgrow it. It’s also your task as a parent to correct any harsh behavior that may continue in the future.
If you’re keen on enrolling him or her in a dance class to improve his part of the child’s personality, you should look for a patient teacher.
8. Will my child thrive in such an environment?
One thing that you should check before considering a dance class is the environment of the studio. Assess if it will suit your child’s learning. Too much competition on the kids and parents isn’t a good sign. Your little one might be bullied or subjected to too much stress if you proceed. Even after you know when to start dance lessons for toddlers, you have to watch out for this.
Also, dance class varies in size. Some kids do well in a large class where they make friends and show their skills. Meanwhile, there are also toddlers who are quite shy and prefer a smaller group. You can use this personality as your guide on deciding whether it’s time to enroll your child in a dance class. Who knows, it only needs a little push to unleash the bubbliness on your toddler.
9. Does my child spend more time on gadgets?
If you observe that your child can’t let a day pass without spending a few hours on gadgets, you should consider enrolling him or her now. Excessive gadget use can delay speech, induce focal seizures, and cause aggressive behavior. Slowly limit their time on these digital gadgets while introducing the physical activity of dance. This can be a pain to do, to be honest. But you have to act to prevent any harm that lack of physical activity can bring.
Remember, the toddler years are crucial growth years. It should be filled with enjoyable activity that helps kids learn new things. They have a lot of grownup years to spend on smartphones and computers. Let them jump, twirl, and swing for now.
10. Is my child thrilled about performing?
Is your child a natural performer? If he or she is a staple of dancing stints during family gatherings, you no longer have to wonder when to start dance lessons for toddlers. This is your chance to improve his interest, and who knows, it might be his profession in the future. Most dance classes have recitals and performances at the end of the program. Your child will have better self-esteem and showmanship if he’s part of the show.
Again, not all kids will be fond of this. But this shouldn’t stop you from enrolling him or her on a dance class. You can pick one that doesn’t have any recitals. Studios offer programs like this as a hobby or a beginner class for toddlers who are just starting in the world of dancing.
11. Will the classes exhaust him too much?
Kids with a special health condition can still join a dance class. If your child happens to be one, think carefully if it will be too exhausting for him. Most of the time, doctors will give you clearance and advice about this. Children who have asthma may seem to be vulnerable for dance classes, but it can also help their lungs given the right style.
Considering the energy level of your child is important especially if he or she is attending playschool as well. The little one might be too tired for any of the classes. Make sure that their little bodies can handle it.
If your goal is to keep them active and “knocked out” for bedtime, a dance class will do you a big favor. It when to start dance lessons for toddlers while keeping the kids busy.
12. Can I afford it now?
So after considering your child’s welfare, there are some questions you should answer for yourself. Can you afford the classes and the additional expenses along the way? Some parents jokingly describe it as “needing to sell a kidney just to get a pair of tap shoes and a dress”. You can prevent that situation by sticking to affordable studios, but it’s undeniable that it’s going to be additional expenses.
Can you shell out about $40-$120 a month plus extras? If so, you can enroll your kid in the class that suits him or her. Dance classes offered at local centers and gyms will be great options too, not to mention the cheaper cost. Just make sure that the facilities are safe and conducive to dancing.
13. Can I commit to it?
Knowing when to start dance lessons for toddlers includes your commitment. As the parent, you also have the willingness to check your child’s progress. You simply don’t send a kid to the studio then end of the story. It’s your job to talk with the teachers and check how your child is doing.
Toddlers will also need guidance while in the class. It can be you or another guardian that can look after the little kid. But as an advice, I think the kids will love it if one of the parents is around. Besides, this is your way of monitoring how they interact, right?
14. Am I patient enough?
Dancing isn’t always full of pixie dust and magic. It’s also a series of tantrums, crying, and a bad mood. At some point, your child won’t be in the mood to participate and you’ll be left trying to pep talk him back to the dance floor. During this point, don’t drag or force the kid back to the studio. Kneel and talk to him calmly on eye level.
This is just one of the struggles to have to put up with. Ask yourself if you have enough patience to get through the rough times.
Have you figured out when to start dance lessons for toddlers? Let us know!