How to Balance Life and Enjoy the Ride
Here’s a quick test to check if your dancer’s life is falling off center:
- Does your child enjoy dance and their other extracurricular activities? Do you?
- Do you or your dancer feel pressure to keep your dancer involved?
- Does your kid spend so much time at the studio that you don’t know what else is going on in their lives?
Do you still feel comfortable with your family’s commitment to dance? If so, here are a few pointers on how to keep their school and dance life in balance.
Find a System and Stick with it
Many schools introduce a planner to upper elementary students and beyond. At my kid’s school, we use these. If you don’t already have a system in place, and your kid is in upper elementary school, the time to implement one is now.
Spot check the planner to ensure that your child is writing down their daily assignments. Help them map out large projects. For example, if there is a book report that is due at the end of the month, check to see what blocks of time are available to get the work done. Don’t forget to plan for the dance competition you have next weekend.
Learn from your Mistakes
It was tech-week, and your child ran out of time to study for the science test. Don’t run to the computer to draft an email pleading for extra credit. Take a few minutes to review where your students plan fell off track. Did they have a plan? Would a heads-up email to the teacher before your busy week have allowed for more study time?
Make Time for Family
Study after study has shown the importance of the family meal. Whether this is breakfast, lunch or dinner doesn’t matter. The act of sitting down, connecting, and sharing a meal together is the key to improving grades and mental health.
As a busy dance mom, I know this isn’t always realistic. We do our best and make sure to weigh the benefits of extracurricular activities versus family time.
In a recent study on sports and family life, it was reported that, “early specialization pathway/elite level will lead to high volumes of training, more disempowering motivational climates and less intentional teaching of life skills which would all contribute to sport having more of a negative effect on youth physical and mental health.” In other words, take it slow. Even if your dancer shows talent and passion, it’s your job to make sure their life is balanced.
Don’t let childhood pass you by. It’s so easy to get caught up in the business of every day. Make sure to stop and soak in the moment. Yes, even those moments while you are stuck driving carpool. Some of those conversations are priceless.