Elevate Dance Center is a “kiss and go” studio. This can be hard for some of our youngest dancers’ parents to understand, but we feel very strongly that our children should be given a learning environment free from spectators. Class time is about exploration, mistake-making and growth. It is not a performance, and therefore needs no audience.
While certainly you are the most well-behaved parent on Earth, some folks are absolutely not. When parents are in the room, they unintentionally create a slew of distractions, such as texting, tending to younger siblings, whispering to one another, or giving a misbehaving child “the eye.”
While well-meaning, it is actually a huge step in the wrong direction for our classes when parents interrupt the room to help with changing shoes. We totally get it- you’re just trying to help, and you don’t want to see us “waste” 5 minutes changing shoes. But, we are experts in our craft, and there is actually magic that happens during the shoe transition part of class. Did you know it’s actually an opportunity for our kids to reach some benchmarks and milestones in their coordination and independence? Did you know that’s the part of class where some students step in as leaders and help those who need it? Did you know during the shoe change is when some kids share whatever’s on their heart with us?
Who knows what goes on in all those brilliant little minds while you’re watching, but we bet it goes something like:
Why does her mommy stay and mine goes? I want my Mommy too!
Oh I see my mommy over there I will run and give her a quick hug.
My mommy is here but she’s looking at her phone. I have an idea! I will really act up so she pays attention to me.
Why does my mommy keep making those movements at me while I do this dance? She doesn’t like it. I must not be a good dancer.
My mommy isn’t here today. There’s nobody clapping and watching me do this. I guess I’ll stop.
You see, when parents stick around, it creates two distinct groups of kids; those kids whose parents stay, and those who don’t. This creates a whole bunch of different behaviors that we don’t normally have to handle when ALL parents simply kiss and go.
So what if you’re on board with the kiss-and-go policy, but you’re still not ready to be separated from your little for 45 minutes? Here are some tips to make it easier on you, momma:
- Arrive early enough that you are both calm and not rushing. Take your child to the bathroom, help her find a cubby, set up their stuff just right. Spend a couple minutes together in the room, dance it out for a sec.
- With a bright smile, wave and say “See you soon! Have fun!”
- THEN GO. No more hugs, no tearful slow-motion waves. Rip the band-aid off and book it. We promise to keep your child safe and comfort him if he’s upset.
- If you are really uncertain if your child is going to go for this, then talk to the teacher about your concerns up front. Let her know how long you are comfortable with your child crying before you want to be called. (We’ve never had to make that call, by the way. 😉
- And lastly, if you can’t bring yourself to leave- just stay invisible. The room is made of glass, you can see in. Just make sure your baby doesn’t see you, or it all really goes downhill from there.
We promise, it gets better every week. This is why we suggest you give it 6 weeks for your predancer to adjust. Check in with your child’s teacher after class. If after 6 weeks it’s still a struggle, then it’s possible your dancer isn’t ready yet. We will be honest with you and help you if the decision to dance now needs reassessing. We are in this together. You and your child are in great hands. It takes a village, and we are your people. Now kiss that beautiful baby and go!