Has your child ever come to you and said they want to quit something? Maybe it was a board game or a homework assignment, or a project they started and weren’t motivated to finish. Maybe it was an activity you signed them up for after school; maybe it was dance.
Although it tugs at our hearts when a student says they want to quit dancing, we know there are bound to be moments in any educational environment when a child feels frustrated or wants to stop. In dance, they might feel like they’re not catching on to the steps quickly enough, or they think they’re behind because their attendance has been erratic. Maybe they express boredom or say they’re “too tired.” Occasionally they may develop anxiety about something very specific, like the way their shoes fit or how they feel shy around their classmates.
(Quick disclaimer: Before we give you our advice, it’s important to note that sometimes the feelings your child expresses about quitting are indeed a symptom of something deeper. Because you know your child best, take stock of whether those feelings might require a check-in with your pediatrician.)
Now when it comes to our experience as educators, we’ve seen that quitting isn’t usually the answer. At SDC, when we encounter students who express a desire to quit, it is often because they are feeling challenged in a new and unfamiliar way. Your child may need extra support from us and from you in order to figure out how to move past the discomfort and persevere. An extra dose of optimism, too, can reassure your dancer that they are capable of overcoming whatever speed bumps get in their way.
With dance, quitting rarely solves the challenge. A child who feels behind in class or wants to improve a skill can often make improvements by expressing their feelings with the teacher, getting advice for practicing at home, or even scheduling a few private lessons. Just being heard can be a catalyst to change! A child who expresses boredom may be better-suited for a different class or different dance style, or the boredom can sometimes signal an unwillingness to work hard—a challenge that must be answered with effort. And a child who says they are feeling anxious should have the opportunity to work through that rough patch with a combination of tactics and steady support.
When you think about the challenges your child will encounter as they grow up, you want them to have the stick-to-itiveness required to succeed at anything they desire, whether it’s dance or anything else. At SDC, we’ve seen countless students over the years gain more skill, more maturity, more self-respect, and more joy after facing an obstacle and choosing to overcome it.
We want you to know that our doors are always open to you and your child so we can problem-solve together. Quitting may not be the answer, but asking for help is always welcome. We’re here to make sure your child’s journey in dance sets them up for success in all aspects of life!
– Ms. Julie