“I Wanna Quit!”
We have all heard this statement before right? As a first time mom, I am obsessed with Parent Magazine. As I was flipping through the August issue, I came across an article that captured my attention. It seems like I have at least one parent every year call me halfway through the year wondering what to do about her dancer who is wanting to quit for one reason or another. There is such a fine line between pushing your child and giving in to your child. Where exactly is that line? How do you know when it’s okay to let your child drop an activity? Or when is it best to make her stick it out? I hope I can give you a couple ideas to help get you through those rough days where your dancers leotard is covered in chocolate, her ballet bun isn’t quite right, and she is crying all the way to the studio… Ugh heaven help us mothers and all dance studios in Lehi, UT.
A Little Nervous or Deeply Anxious?
“Some kids resist new activities or challenges because they don’t naturally enjoy going out of their comfort zone, as opposed to kids who like to rise to a challenge,” says pediatrician Ari Brown, M.D. If your child isn’t naturally a risk taker, it may be a good idea to push a little bit to help them out. On the other hand, if your child will not even walk near a swimming pool, he or she probably isn’t quite ready for swimming lessons.
Try getting to the bottom of their resistance. “Kids can have an anxiety that is not based on the truth of the situation,”says Dr Berman. “Sometimes just letting them know the reality can really help.”
Don’t Bribe, But Try To Make The Activity Fun
I’m sure bribing has worked like a charm for some parents, but for the rest of us, not so much! You don’t want to get your child in the habit of saying “What will you give me?” every time you want her to do something. You could try having her practice her plies in the kitchen while you are cooking dinner. Heck you do them too as you are stirring your spaghetti! Let her be the teacher. Another fun activity could be you videoing her, and allowing her to watch herself or send it to a family member to watch. Does your child have a goal? When I was in junior high, I will never forget watching the Lehi Drill Team perform at halftime. I told myself I wanted to be one of those dancers. My mom then put me in a Drill Team Prep Class and I was able to make the Lehi Drill Team a few years later.
Question Your Motives
Just because your daughter is coordinated and flexible doesn’t mean she will love dance class. Not every girl is going to love twirling around the dance floor singing the Frozen Soundtrack. Yes, we want our kids to stay active but there are plenty of other non contact or contact sports that your little princess could love.
Think about whose passion this really is. I already find myself imagining my little Ava, who is only 3 months old, spinning around the dance room doing pirouettes and leaps. I have to remind myself all the time that it will be okay if Ava hates dance, because really her happiness is what makes me happy too.
Look For Red Flags
Does your child consistently steer clear of the ball and the other players? Has she ever faked an injury? Is she resistant to practicing on her own, or does she complain constantly when she’s reminded to practice? Can you get through a discussion about the activity without it leading to whining or some kind of conflict? And most importantly, does the activity seem to build your child’s self-confidence- or does it tear it down?
Let Your Child Be Heard
Forcing doesn’t feel so much like force when there are choices embedded within the activity. “Include your child in the process,” Dr. Berman says. “Your goal is to help him find something he will love.” Think of it all as a journey to give your child experience and understanding in different areas on the way to finding her passions.
One Thing You Should Force
Physical Activity – It doesn’t need to be an organized sport, and it should never be brought up with words like fat, thin, overweight, or out of shape. Use words like “healthy” and “strong” to provide motivation. A family walk after dinner, hide-and-seek, or a bike ride are great ways to get your kids moving. Remember, kids are almost always motivated when parents participate, so get out there with them and move!