Preparing Preschoolers For Class
Starting any class or sport can be a bit overwhelming for even an outgoing child so it's not surprising or unusual at all for there to be some tears or butterflies about starting a new class. Here are 5 tips that parents and teachers can use to help young children begin and transition to a new class.
First, talk with your child about how many days (or sleeps - whatever your family uses to count) until their class starts. Continue to talk about how much time and what your child can expect as you get closer to the big day!
Second, set the stage or give them a visual about what to expect. Common "things" that happen at almost any studio or class anywhere are... When we get there, you will change into your dance shoes. You are going to see new friends that are waiting to start class with you. It's so exciting to meet all of our new friends! The teacher is going to open the door to your classroom and then you are going to give me a hug and go play with your new friends and your teacher. Tell them what you will do while they are in class. For example, mom is going to check my email on my phone while you are dancing and take a peek at Facebook. Whatever you are doing, make sure it isn't more appealing than going to class. ;)
Third, if you can visit your studio or class ahead of time so that your child can see where you will sit, see their classroom and meet their teacher that is ideal. Not always are teachers working in the weeks prior to class starting but typically studios will host open houses that allow you to come in and check things out!
Fourth, keep your emotions in check. If you are nervous, worried and stressed, your child will sense that and mirror those emotions. Stay calm, take a deep breath and remember your teacher has probably taught hundreds of classes and is a pro at getting kids started in class.
Fifth, if you anticipate that your child is going to struggle with separation then share that with your teacher or studio prior to your first class. More often than not, your studio or teacher is going to prefer that you drop the child off and walk away. It's hard on you to walk away when they are crying but usually within a few minutes, your child will have calmed down and be ready to play and dance. Again, if you anticipate separation to be an issue, talk with your teacher before class starts and ask how they like to handle a tearful drop-off. It's also important to share what you are going to do with your child and then stick to it. If you tell your child that you are going to have them stay with Miss Anna while you sit in the lobby (or your car) and then you come to get them in the middle of class when they have been crying, it's going to be so much harder to transition in the upcoming weeks. It's hard on you but if once they have made it through the class a few times then they'll begin to love it and happily skip into class.
Here's to a fabulous new dance season! Interested in classes with Dance-Twirl Minnesota? Check out our Fall schedule here.