As part of ND&MA’s Choosing Resilience over Resentment movement, we are proudly launching a new blog series by our very own resident expert – Jennifer Jeter, Licensed MFT.
It is probably safe to say that every parent wants his or her child to become a confident adult. Self-confidence has been proven to be a key factor in career and lifetime success. Studies have certainly shown that confidence is also an element of personal happiness. So, how do we, as parents, help our children to develop this important skill?
Parents will have daily opportunities to empower their children, which is essential to developing confidence. Finding an extracurricular activity that builds a child’s sense of competence can be one way to help him or her become more self-assured. Enrolling your child in a dance class is one of the many ways you can support your child’s developing confidence. Here’s how a dance class can benefit that goal!
Dance Class Sets Paced/Reasonable Goals: Your child will develop confidence as he or she accomplishes new tasks and skills. Confidence develops from a sense of competency. A dance class provides your child a chance to learn something new and practice it until he or she masters it! In a good dance school, your child will be placed in an environment that is appropriate age and skill-wise. This will lower the intimidation factor and give your child a chance to try something new without feeling that he or she is alone with the challenges.
Dance Classes are Encouraging Places: A good dance teacher knows it is the effort that deserves positive reinforcement, sometimes even more than the result! A child who tries something new and works at it will be supported and encouraged in a dance classes. Mistakes are not only okay, they are part of learning! Being recognized for hard work and resiliency is one of the ways a child can be encouraged to keep trying. Of course hard work is the key to mastery, so this support is essential for success. When a child feels comfortable to try and even fail until they get things right, he or she will feel more confident to try other new activities as well!
Dance Classes Give Each Child Personal Attention: Every child in a dance class is important. Good dance teachers will focus on each dancer throughout the year. In dance classes, children will be encouraged in strength areas and aided in weaker areas until there is growth skill-wise. This personal attention emphasizes each child’s personal importance and value. Dance teachers eventually know each student personally and recognize him or her by name. A child’s sense of feeling known and seen by people they admire leads to a sense of confidence.
Dance Classes Give A Child a Place to Feel Accepted: As a child becomes a part of his or her dance class, there will be another place to feel a sense of friendship and camaraderie. Children in a dance class are all working toward similar goals, learning and growing at the same time. As they work toward a performance piece, they will experience the feeling of being a team, working together toward an end product. Good dance teachers will embrace each child’s different qualities and allow those differences to shine. Feeling accepted for who you are, just as you are, will lead to a sense of self-confidence.
Dance Class Gives Your Child A Chance to Try Something New: Fear decreases throughout life as we try new things and survive. When your child enters an unfamiliar environment and manages the experience, he or she learns about personal competency. Dance class is usually fun, which makes it a great place to experience something new. As your child begins to believe that new things do not necessarily have to be scary, he or she will feel more confident to try other new experiences as well!
Dance Class Allows Your Child An Opportunity for Self Expression: For children who are shy or who may not have a lot of academic confidence, dance class offers another place to self-express. Dance is an art form that doesn’t require words. Studies have proven that dance actually feels good both physically and mentally. As a child advances through dance, he or she may find the personal style that feels best and use this activity as way to eliminate personal stress and elevate mood. Feeling mentally better increases inner peace and this contributes to a feeling of wellness and confidence.
Finally, if your child enjoys dance and gets the message from his or her parents that this matters, you as parents will also be contributing to your child’s self esteem! Nothing is more important than knowing that a person’s family believes in them and supports their dreams. Making time and effort to provide opportunities that matter to our kids is a non-verbal message that is powerful. If you have a son or daughter who moves around to music, he or she will likely love a dance class. And showing your child that you want him or her to be happy and feel good is a strong way to show your child their value, which will raise their confidence!
Jennifer Jeter, MFT
Jennifer Jeter is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has been in practice in San Diego since 2001. She works with couples and individuals and believes that the answers to a satisfying life can be discovered through talk therapy. Jennifer lives with her husband, beautiful dancer daughter and her dog Ashton in Chula Vista, California.