Lessons From Toddlers
I have had the extreme honor of having students from age two through adulthood. I would get toddlers for their first separation from the family. They came into the dance studio fearful, having a tantrum, and fighting their fear, and with trust, the parents would allow the magic to happen.
My team and I showed patience, strength, and our own self-esteem to help the child in their growth journey.
When students came in for their first visit, it took about five weeks to gain trust for their personal growth. Together with the family, we allowed the young student to have their independence and grow. Little by little, through their journey, their confidence was being built. It was us letting them develop on their own time in their way of comfort. They would have their tantrum and we gave them the time to learn how to feel better through our nurturing and their pride. The families that allowed this process were all so happy to witness the growth. There are many success stories.
Allowing the child to tie their shoes, zip their coat, carry their own bag, and do simple everyday tasks that take them a long time to learn, helped grow their confidence. The adults needed patience for the child to do it their way because it took longer. It took allowing the child to figure things out, make mistakes, fix them, and gain confidence.
An unexpected experiment happened. The COVID pandemic years. Our lobby area was closed to lessen the traffic and amount of people and still allow the children to attend their activity. Parents and caretakers dropped the students at the door, and children as young as two to teens were walking confidently into their classroom. Each week, we saw more and more confidence building in the students.
It was like magic in our eyes. Students were independent and took their dance bags, prepared for dance class with little help, and shined brighter than ever. You could see the fire lighting within them. It was a beautiful opportunity to gain their confidence.
When the lobby opened up, and parents began escorting the children to class and getting them ready, there was a decline in confidence. The students were counting on someone else to help again. We adjusted our teaching again to continue to help build this confidence back in our students. We helped the parents learn to allow the children to do things for themselves again. Changing with the times was always important to a student’s success in personal growth.