Once kids have moved beyond the toddler years and are steady on their feet, parents begin to realize that they need a constructive outlet for all that energy! Thoughts inevitably turn to dance. While ballet is a popular choice, tap dance classes might be a better fit, especially for boys. The style is a bit more energetic, helping to get those wiggles out, the demands on the body are less rigorous, and what kid can resist the tap-tap-tap of those fancy shoes?
The question then becomes what’s the best age for kids to start tap dance classes?
How To Determine If Your Child Is Ready For Tap Dance Classes
You can find fun, informal tap dance classes for kids as young as two, but whether or not you enroll in one depends on the interest, abilities, and attention span of the individual. Placing them in a class that demands more than they can give isn’t good for the individual participant or the rest of the students. You risk injury, turning the child off to dancing, or disrupting the class if the child isn’t ready for formal lessons.
To help decide if the time is right for formal instruction, ask yourself these questions:
- Is my child at least 3 years old? While kids definitely show an interest in music and dance at an earlier age, they simply don’t have the maturity level needed to participate in formal lessons. Encourage their interest, keep them moving, and even enroll them in informal classes, but unless they can control themselves and follow classroom instruction, wait a bit before enrolling.
- Is my child physically able to participate in a class? Kids need to have strong motor control skills in order to participate in formal lessons. Even if he or she meets the age requirements of the class, the child may not have the physical capabilities to meet the demands of dancing.
- How does my child feel about performing in front of others? Recitals are demanding and can be scary for some kids. If your son or daughter is not ready to be on stage and perform for strangers, look for an informal class that does not require performances.
- Is my child comfortable enough to attend class without me? Comfort taking instruction from the teacher without a parent present is a must. At this age, the most important skill the teacher has is the ability to connect with the kids, remain enthusiastic and supportive, yet in charge of the class. The more fun the class is, the more comfortable children are without parents in the room.
Dance Opportunities Are Everywhere
So many of the decisions you’ll make as parents will come down to what’s best for your child and your family. Starting tap dance classes is no different. Keep in mind that there will still be classes when your child is ready. There’s no need to rush it and you have plenty of options to keep their interest growing in the meantime. Dance at home. Find a creative movement class. Enroll in a Mommy & Me class. Watch some tap videos on You Tube. Anything that keeps their little bodies moving and coordination skills improving will prepare them for eventual classes.