There's something exciting and heartwarming about seeing the joy on children’s faces when they are having fun with their friends during something they have accomplished together - especially when you have played some part in it. Like that one time when you see your child finally execute that forward roll they've been working on. Now it isn't quite Simone Biles standard, but they made it over in one piece without cracking their heads open (FYI, ultimate parent /teacher fear) and so to you it was done with perfection. You can tell they seem a little dizzy from having been rolling around for the last 15 minutes practicing, but that bright smile and wide eyes are nothing short of pure elation within your child. Roly poly - check!

That is just one of the many reason why we love dance. —The sense of accomplishment doesn't always happen straightaway, but as long as the children are having fun trying, thats an achievement in itself, right? 

The following 5 are just a few of our favourite reasons for loving dance. So if you're stuck for ideas on how to convince the Mr that your little darling just has to DANCE, fret no more. Be warned: you may end up wanting to dance yourself! 

1) Express Yourself

“All children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.” – Picasso

Whether you’ve got a quiet child or a more outspoken one, the one thing all children (and most adults) share in common is the urge to express themselves. Be it through drawing, singing, sport or writing, having a creative outlet should always be valued. Dance is one of those things that we at The Jam London truly believe is universal. Everyone can do it! I’ve been saying it for years, “if you can hear the beat of the music- you can dance, the moves will come” And even if that beat is more of an internal one and not necessarily what’s playing in the music, its ok…..it is ok…. just keep your body moving! And what’s more, if its all done with a smile on your face, I bet you’ll feel amazing afterwards. Who cares if people are staring, they'll either be in awe of your confidence, or genuinely happy that you're happy! There are of course a few instances with a child when they just don't want to dance; everyone else is playing musical statues, throwing themselves into crazy shapes and creating weird angles that make you second guess your own ideas of ‘coordination,’ but for the life of you, little Johny just doesn't want to play. That’s probably because he thinks he’ll get it ‘wrong’ or doesn't know what to do. For children, the focus should always be on enjoyment. They have to feel like its fun; a competition perhaps, a challenge maybe, but work never. No judgement, no jeering, just a cool, non-pressurised space to express themselves.

After all “the happiest human are the ones that feel freest to be who they want to be.”

2) Physical

Childhood obesity is a very real problem, and while you may be thinking that your child is of a perfectly standard size for a child of his/her age, physical health encompasses so much more than just appearances. There is a lot of truth in saying that children just don't spend as much time running around as ‘in my day’. While this is for a number of reasons, the effects on children’s development is palpable. Recently while teaching, I asked a class of year 3 children to show me a ‘hopscotch’ - cue looks of complete bewilderment from said class, and my suddenly feeling intensely old! (By the way, I'm not that old, and I am perfectly happy with my age… I repeat every morning!) Among that class of 26 children there was only one that could show me a hopscotch. Parents do me a favour and ask your children to show you a hopscotch, if they do know it, fantastic, my faith will be restored, and if they don't know, please please teach them!

Through dance children can develop greater body control, co-ordination, balance and spatial awareness. Children also get to experience a range of gross motor movements and fine motor movements, all of which is done in an enjoyable environment, what more could they want?!

3) Social

I have friends that I have known for over 20 years that i still refer to as my dance friends. Shared interests are the basis of all great relationships, and there’s something truly special about lasting friendships, born in childhood, of a mutual love for a shared hobby, aka sport, aka dance! On the other hand, children may not meet their bff through dance but they will at the very least have encountered and interacted with more people. They will have learned to work well in a group dynamic through co-operating with peers, leading to a greater understanding of both themselves as an individual and in relation to others. Children will have the opportunity to hone their communication skills, doing so both verbally and non-verbally, to further explore ideas and express themselves. If i didn't love dance already… I would now!!!

4) Self-esteem

Having confidence in yourself is necessary at all ages to navigate successfully through life, and as with many things, the experiences you gain through childhood will shape the person you grow to be. Arts related activities have been proven to boost a child's self-image. Concentration, dedication, persistence, perseverance are just a few of the skills necessary but also learned through dance, the combination of which will undeniably lead to a strong sense of worthy fulfilment through the dance skills achieved. Such transferable skills when fostered young, instil a a fantastic foundation for further learning throughout adolescence and into adulthood. The expressive nature of dance lends itself well to further opportunities of self-expression, having ones ideas validated through both praise and constructive criticism leads to greater confidence for further self expression and pride.

5) Fun

And lastly but by no means least- fun, fun and more FUN!

Dance should be a challenge but it shouldn't feel like a chore. Mix in some awesome tunes, the funkiest of dance moves and a lively, energetic instructor, your child will be torn between begging you to continue, ignoring you completely so that they can continue, and showering you with thanks for giving them the opportunity to participate at all! Ten parent points to you!!

So there you have it, just 5 of my favourite reasons for loving dance! 

If you still feel you need more convincing, drop us an email or comment below and I will be more than happy to further talk about dance and why it is great… honestly!

Or if you were sold at point 1, what are your favourite memories of dance as a child? All comments will be read and appreciated. 

And finally don't forget to get your children on the hopscotch challenge and let us know how they did!

Jocelyn

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