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While two-year-old's LOVE dance, they are challenged by the experience of a structured class. Dance class for this age can take the form of organized chaos and let's be honest, it can be stressful for parents, teachers, and the little tots themselves!
If we can better understand where these tots are coming from, how we can help, and what success looks like in a class setting at this age, we can set realistic expectations and have more confidence knowing that perservering through this tricky stage is well worth the effort for your child's development.
"The terrible twos typically occur when toddlers begin to struggle between their reliance on adults and their desire for independence.... Two-year-olds are undergoing major motor, intellectual, social and emotional changes. Their vocabularies are growing, they're eager to do things on their own, and they're beginning to discover that they're expected to follow certain rules. However, most 2-year-olds still aren't able to move as swiftly as they'd like, clearly communicate their needs or control their feelings. This can lead to frustration and misbehavior — in other words, the terrible twos.” - Dr. Jay Hoecker, Pediatrician and member of the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
Of all the places this comes to light, it's the dance studio! In the Little Beats Tykes class for ages 14-24 months, the children have more freedom to explore, the behavioral expectations are lower, and the grown-ups are there to model engagement. In contrast, the Tots class starts to take on a bit more 'structure' and instruction as the tots undergo a critical time for social and emotional learning in their development. Additionally, the grown-up's role in the tots class becomes not just about modeling postitive, engaged behavior- but really reienforcing it.
If you are a grown-up in a two-year-old dance class, RELAX. Give yourself and your child a break. Lower your expectations. Even though your child's moving and talking is blowing you away, they still have a LONG way to go when it comes to communication, self-regulation, and following instruction. Take a look at the measurements for success below, some tips for achieving this in your class and at home, and what the key expected (or desired) class behaviors are in the Little Beats Tots class.
And remember, it's a PROCESS. What we are learning in dance class will benefit your child everywhere they go (especially preschool!) and needless to say, will lay the foundation for an even richer learning experience in the next level of dance.
How can I help my child succeed in class?
What does success look like in toddler dance class?
What are the expectations for appropriate dance class behavior?
Want more useful info? We don't have bottles of wine to give out but here are some tips from Parent's Magazine on How to Tackle The Terrible Two's
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