Dance will take time. How will your child manage their homework, family time and other schedule challenges? Make sure that your child knows that dance will impact their free time. Provide them all the help you can so they can build good time management habits. Encourage special time together to watch a movie on a weekly basis, but leave the television off unless viewing a particular program to help your child build good study habits in their limited time.
Your child will expend a great deal of energy in dance classes. Encouraging them to eat a diet high in whole grains and protein for long-lasting energy. Avoid sports drinks, which tend to be high in sugar, and promote water during breaks. Keep an eye on their calcium intake and iron levels for strong bones and optimum oxygen efficiency. Consider adding a high protein snack within 30 minutes of practice to keep them fueled. Encourage your dancer to consider herself an athlete. Working out, stretching, eating right and resting are all part of building the physical strength a dancer needs.
If your child is involved in dance, they will likely wear themselves out during rehearsals and performances. To make sure they get enough rest, start removing screens from their bedrooms now. Set up a charging area outside the bedroom for all family members so everyone gets in the habit of sleeping away from their phones. Parents can promote this habit to promote proper rest. If your kids share a room and your dancer isn't getting enough rest, you may need to try having them sleep in a separate bedroom. As they grow, keep an eye on their mattress and be ready to buy one that gives them more support for deep, restful sleep.
Dance gear can run the gamut from tap shoes to sweat pants and from ballet slippers to tights. Leotards, tees and skirts may also be necessary. When the instructor requires it, make the investment in properly sized leotards and tights. Your little dancer needs to build great form, and the teacher can best observe this in the early stages with garments that cling to the body. Be prepared to replace these items as necessary. A dance class is a workout, and these garments will get sweaty and need to be washed regularly. Tights and leotards will also snag and run on a regular basis as they wear out.
Investing in some great competition dance bags will make competitions, classes and dance-related travel much easier. You need a gear bag with mesh dividers to keep air moving around shoes and dance clothes. You will also need a spot to hang costumes so they don't get crumpled. Wheels will make it easy for your dancer to move her own gear from space to space. Finally, a spot for makeup, hair tools and a towel will give your dancer their own rolling studio.
Makeup and Hair
Dance competitions and recitals mean your child will need quality makeup. Consider the recommendations of the instructor and make sure your child has her own makeup kit. While children can share some products, such as base or powder, your child must have their own eye and lip makeup. Everyone has naturally-occurring bacteria on their skin. Sharing makeup can transfer this bacteria. By sharing eyeliner, mascara or lipstick, your dancer and her fellow troupe members can quickly spread infection. Make sure your child has their own brush and hair ties. Putting up a proper dance hairdo is much easier if the hair isn't squeaky clean. You'll want to carefully wash and dry the brushes and combs your child uses to put up their dirty hair and scrub them well after the performance.
Your dancer will need plenty of rest, great nutrition, gear, costumes and makeup. They'll also need their own bag to manage all their dance gear and get in the habit of packing effectively. By investing your time in helping them build good habits, they can enjoy dance as well as other childhood activities.
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