Updated: Feb 7, 2019
Ask a Dance Teacher Part I: When should my child start taking dance class?
As a teacher, this is a question I hear a lot.
My child expresses interest, but is it a good time to introduce structured class?
Are they too young?
Are they too immature?
Review my quick checklist for dance class readiness below to see if you should sign your child up!
1. Child Expresses Interest in Dancing
To make sure your child has the best dance experience possible, make sure they are showing an active interest in dance as an activity.
Do they like to move and groove to music at home? Do they enjoy mimicking the movements of others, especially when they watch music and dance live or on TV?
Why it's important: Any hobby forced too soon (or at all) increases the likelihood that a child fights the learning process and has a less positive experience overall.
2. Child Understands Basic Directions/Instruction
You might think it goes without saying, but this is a big one for all of the new toddlers out there!
I want to emphasize that your child does not need to have a perfect attention span or be able to complete things on the first try. (We all know that developing our listening ears takes years and years!)
However, the experience of class will be greatly improved if they understand that the goal is to follow along and repeat what the teachers and the class do.
Why it's important: You want your child to be getting something out of the experience! If they don't understand the basic goal of class (to dance,) then they aren't getting the full effect.
3. Child is Spatially Independent
This is my fancy way of saying that a child can make it through a few minutes without needing to be picked up by a guardian.
It is completely understandable (and expected) that young children are not yet comfortable with parents leaving the room for the entirety of class. However, the kiddos need to be able to participate in some independent movement.
Why it's important: It's natural for children to need some physical reassurance from their parent or guardian during class from time to time. But if your child isn't ready to be put down and participate in movement on their own, they aren't getting to participate in the fun, either!
Instead, maybe opt for a mommy and me style movement class to test the waters and warm up.
Overall, the most important thing is that you and your child have a great experience in class and with your instructor. So, the best thing to do if you are on the fence is to ask!
How did you know your child was ready to dance? Let me know in the comments!