My son turned four last month and has been in dance class since the ripe old age of 2.5. I danced growing up, as did his father for a few years. It is because of dance that his father and I met. It’s one of those fairy tale stories where we both auditioned for a community theater show, were dance partners, and the rest is history.
Now, a marriage, a house, two dogs, and two kids later, my son is dancing. Even with all that background and the fact that boys in dance are far more mainstream than it ever was when I was young, I know that there is still a lot of resistance. So I thought I’d bring to light why I put my son in dance.
The Social Aspect
My son never went to daycare. We are lucky that my husband and I work opposite schedules, so generally, one of us is home with the kids. This means that my son didn’t have many playmates in his early years. None of my friends had kids his age, and he had one cousin a year younger than him.
Dance once a week allowed him to socialize with other kids his age without mom and dad around. He had one hour a week in a structured environment with kids his age to dance, run around, and tumble. This benefited his ability to interact with kids his age, get exposure to a class type of environment, and learn to behave around adults that aren’t family. It helped when he started preschool a few mornings a week this year. Additionally, dance classes can help alleviate a child’s fear of performing in front of others. This is especially helpful for shy kids.
Dancing requires several things from kids, even at a young age. They practice memorization as they learn a new dance. They learn how to learn. They learn about working hard to achieve a goal, practicing, and the importance of discipline and focus. Children who dance are known to perform better in school. They tend to have better SAT scores and even perform better in math and science. I know this proved to be true in my life, where I received full scholarships to high school and college and ultimately majored in mathematics.
Dance is a great form of exercise. It improves cardiovascular health and muscle tone. For young kids, it can increase flexibility and provide greater self-awareness. Young kids often lack control of their bodies because they don’t fully understand using their bodies. Toddlers can learn how to control their bodies and develop spacial awareness. Dance can correct posture, increase balance, and increase stamina. Dance can be just as physically beneficial for kids as sports, if not more so since dance can be started at a younger age.
Here is why I put my son in dance; he loves to dance. I teach dance and always bring my son with me while I teach. He loved listening to the music and trying to do the dance that I was teaching. He has always loved music and has been singing musical theater songs since he was two years old. He would even create his own dances to perform. He especially loves tap; he’s a boy who loves to make noise. Dancing is fun and makes him happy. If he ever stops wanting to dance, then he can stop. At this point, however, he loves spending time with his friends and dancing to fun music.
Dance is an important part of our family, and my nine-month-old daughter is already on her way to being a dancer. Her face lights up when she hears music and starts waving her arms like crazy.