8 Tips to Having a Blast in a Parented Dance Class with MDC

Written By Brittany Mulder 4/6/2016
We understand. Taking your baby or toddler to a new class can be nerve racking. You don’t know what will be asked of you. You don’t know how your child will act or if they'll participate at all. You worry that it could be stressful by trying to get your two-year-old to follow along with a group based activity. We get you.  This little article will hopefully give you a good idea of what our classes include, as well as, give you some tips and tricks as to how to have a blast in one of our Baby and You or Family Jam Classes.

Blackfalds Activities
1. NO ANTS (Automatic Negative Thoughts)

Automatic Negative Thoughts are not allowed in our classes. However, as mentioned, they are natural and automatic and we all get them but they will not help us grow, they will not help us learn and they certainly will not help our children grow. So if an ANT enters your mind, squish it, shoe it away, do whatever you have to do to get rid of it. PATS, on the other hand, are encouraged in our classes, those are Positive Automatic Thoughts. Keep Those. We like those.

2. As the parent, you DANCE with us

Now don’t get me wrong, you won’t be asked to pirouette or jete. By DANCE I mean, wave the scarf, poke you hands high or chant "one, two, buckle my shoe" with us. Here's the reason, your child is watching you and they are much more likely to join in if you are participating. So just dance. 

3. Arrive on Time or at least try...

Because our class has a very specific structure to it, arriving on time will help you and your child feel successful with the class. The exercises that we do at the beginning of class (The Brain Dance) help prepare us for the upcoming games and activities that we will do for the rest of the class. So, being late may cause for a rocky class for you and your little one. 

4. You do you, girl. You do you.

It is important that you do anything you need to do so that you and your child are happy and safe. If the two of you need to take a break, please do. Sometimes leaving the room and coming back in after a few breaths is just the reboot you need. If your baby is hungry, feel free to nurse them. It’s okay. Taking this class is for you. You need to do what will be best for you and your child in that moment.

5. Channel your inner child.

With no ANTs (tip #1)  in the room, it should be a little easier to channel your silly, playful, childish self. Embrace it because this is the best part: every silly, playful activity that we do in the class, has a purpose. So you don’t even have to feel too embarrassed doing the silly activities, knowing that your child is learning literacy skills and developing their gross motor skills. 
6. When your child (age 2 + up) isn’t doing it ‘right’...

Children ages 0-4 learn through imitation, observation, experimentation, and manipulation.As mentioned, if you dance, or participate in the class, your child will imitate you (tip #2).  On the other hand, your child may choose to just watch or observe you or the rest of the group during certain sections of our class. THIS IS OKAY! When your child is observing, their mirror neurons are firing; meaning, that they are learning and their brain is growing. They will participate some day. Your child may also experiment and try to figure out the movements themselves, which may mean that they may not be executing the movement as instructed. Again, this is okay. They are trying and the brain dance can get to be complicated for our young minds - so let them watch.During some points in the class, we will encourage you to manipulate and move your child through the movement patterns especially if they are getting distracted or trying to leave the group. All in all, If your child is dancing with the group for a majority of our class, they are doing it right!

7. Take advantage of relaxation

In the middle or end of every class, we will have 4 minutes of relaxation because our class can get tiring and you and your child may start to feel a little overstimulated. Take advantage of these four minutes. Lay on the floor, close your eyes, and let your body relax. You may not get the opportunity to do, literally, nothing for four whole minutes during the rest of your day. But let’s get real, our toddler may not want or need to relax, that is why the instructor will always be available to quietly entertain the children while the parents rest. 

This class is about bonding with your child and having fun. It is not about being perfect or knowing exactly what you’re doing. So smile, laugh, and just wiggle with us.
Now that you know everything there is to know about taking a class... Come Dance with us!
We would love to have you. 

Credit goes to Anne Green Gilbert's approach to  Brain-Compatible Dance Education for a majority of this content.