For many parents, finding new tips and tricks to keep kids happy, motivated and content during Virginia’s stay-at-home order can be difficult. Each child is different, and not every piece of advice will work. But, there’s no harm in trying out new methods, including implementing more dance moves into your child’s routine to spark a little joy.
We spoke with Donna Rathe, owner of children’s dance studio Tiny Dancers, to find out more. See highlights from our conversation below.
What dance moves can help kids release pent-up energy as they spend more time indoors during the stay-at-home order?
Releasing that pent-up energy is more than physical—there’s mental and emotional energy too. Dancing allows kids to let off steam through physical movement—but it can also be a mental boost when they remember a combination of steps or a time to feel proud of themselves by mastering a new skill. We play imagination games with them where they pretend they’re an astronaut, or ask them to imagine what animals we’ll see at the zoo. Freeze dance is another favorite and can be adapted to any age and any size space.
What are easy dances parents and kids can learn together?
We love to introduce kids to traditional social dances—the ones we all do at weddings and other big family events. Sometimes we’ll dance the chicken dance, the hokey pokey, the cha cha slide … and who can forget the macarena? The added benefit to learning these dances at home is that they’ll be ready for the next big party when we can all gather together again.
Many dance studios incorporate other activities, like story time and games, into their dance lessons with little ones. What does the team at Tiny Dancers do that could be translated into at-home entertainment now?
On Sundays, we direct parents and children to our Facebook page, where we have information on the book we’ll be reading in the coming week, along with step-by-step instructions on how to make two different crafts we’ll be using during their lesson. Then in class we read the story to the children, after which they retell the story through dance, using music and the homemade props.
What movements are best to “get the wiggles out?”
Fast and faster! Whether it’s freestyle dancing or a guided exercise, like pretending to be different people in the circus, kids need to keep moving, jumping, hopping, leaping, using all parts of their bodies.
Why is dance an important tool to use during times of tragedy and discomfort?
Dance is our own creative, personal expression of our inner feelings. It’s not right or wrong. It allows us to be happy or sad, scared or brave without judgement. It can help us cope with the unknown; it’s a universal language that draws us all together.
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