Dance At Home:
Bond With Your Dancer!
For many children, dance class is a weekly activity, however with the company of a parent or guardian, dance practice can continue all through the week! Not only will practicing at home help your child to improve his or her technique, but it can also be a great bonding experience!
Implementing at-home practice time often stumps the parents of young dancers. Below, we’ve provided several tips for making practice time a fun activity for parents and dancers alike!
How To Practice With Your Dancer At Home:
Talk with your dancer’s teacher!
Speaking with your child’s dance teacher is a great way to begin your at-home practicing. The teacher is familiar with how your dancer learns, what he/she struggles with, and what routines and steps the dance class is currently working on. Oftentimes, dance teachers will post videos of specific routines online for the purpose of at-home practice. Communicating with your teacher not only ensures that you will collect the appropriate material to practice, but also provides opportunity for positive reinforcement in class. Affirmation from a teacher, such as “I can tell you’ve been practicing at home,” is a great way to motivate children to rehearse.
Set A Schedule!
It is important that your dancer knows ahead of time when at-home practice will occur just as they would know when their dance class is. By planning ahead, it is something that he/she can look forward to! In addition, working together to decide what different moves you'll practice together will give your dancer a feeling of responsibility, and he/she will enjoy the "grown-up" activity of planning a schedule with you. Post a calendar where your dancer can see it, and remind them in the morning if you have practice time scheduled for later that day. Keeping a consistent routine will turn practice into a habit, preventing arguments on days when your child may be feeling tired or lazy.
Create a Rewards System!
Children are very goal driven; give them something to work towards! Create a chart where dancers can track their progress. Perhaps after 5 completed practice sessions, a small reward is given...such as a trip to the ice cream store! (This means additional bonding time!) For bigger goals, perhaps 10 practice sessions, a larger reward may be given. Maybe a new tutu? Talk to your dancer about what would motivate him/her. As each reward is reached, the opportunity to discuss progress arises. “After 10 practices, look how much easier it is to shuffle!”
Make It Fun!
This is the most important part of practicing at home! While practice is a time to focus on improving and memorizing, dancing together should feel like fun, not a chore! Obviously, your little one enjoys their kids dance class, so at-home practice should be the same. Create a fun playlist (your dance teacher can help with song suggestions), set aside a special dance space in your home or backyard, and perhaps even put on your favorite dancewear. Remember, technique should be mixed in with fun! Let your dancer be creative; once you’ve practiced steps and routines recommended by your teacher for 10-15 minutes, encourage your child to show off his/her favorite moves, or create a small piece of choreography together! Giving your dancer the freedom to use his/her imagination will keep dance practice interesting, engaging, and fun! Practice time can become "mommy/daddy and me" time...a special time for you and your dancer to spend together each week!
Every family is different, so take the time to see what kind of routine works best for you. As your dancer begins to improve and make progress, you can be proud and celebrate your hard work together! Think of all the fun you can have as you move and groove together throughout the week...who knows, maybe as a parent you’ll be inspired to take a dance class of your own!