Mama Chat – When your child doesn’t want to join in.

When we have a child, I think we all have an idea of what sort of activities we would like them to enjoy in the future.

It might be based on activities we did as a child such as swimming and hockey or it might be the activities we always wanted to do as a child but didn’t get the chance.

When I look back on my childhood, I played netball, went to swimming club, played touch footy and danced (that’s me below in the tutu – sorry about the quality!). There were many times I wanted to quit but I was encouraged to persevere and now I’m pleased I did.  It now means as  an adult I can play tennis (reasonably well) and touch footy,  I can run and swim confidently and still love to dance.

I recently started my 2-year-old son in a movement to music class.

Master 2 loves to dance.   That beautiful innocent ‘dance like no one is watching’ kind of dancing.

It is not uncommon to see him bopping around in the lounge room to the Wiggles or strutting his stuff outside to the radio whether it be ballet or rock.  He loves us to join in with him as well and often gives us detailed instructions on how to dance and telling us off when we get it wrong!

So I was quite surprised when at his  first dance class Master 2 clung to me for dear life and would not join in. I couldn’t understand why, even though his favourite music was playing, the teacher was lovely and welcoming and the other children were having a ball!  To Sandra, the dance teacher’s credit, she was very encouraging, without been pushy and brought instruments over to us to participate from the sidelines.

Any attempts from me to move him over to the group were met with great resistance, to the point of him burrowing his face in neck.  I did wonder, should we just leave. Mean while his little sister had found her calling and couldn’t get enough, leaving us to be part of the group.  So much for blood is thicker than water!

At the end of the class, Sandra brought a ball over and spent some time one to one with my son to build some rapport and trust.  It was  very lovely and thoughtful and a credit to her as a children’s instructor.  She wouldn’t take payment for the class either which wasn’t necessary, but another very thoughtful gesture.

The following week when I told master 2 that we were going to his dance class again, I was met with resistance.  He had remembered, and had no plans on returning.  I had a moment of hesitation, initially thinking “Well if he doesn’t want to go should I make him’ but instead decided on saying, “Let’s just go and have a look”.  He was okay with that.

Once we arrived he stuck to me like glue and there was lot’s of twirling my hair (his comforter).  Not the start I was hoping for.

Sandra was again welcoming but he still only wanted to sit on the sidelines.  I deliberately sat closer to the group with him and joined in myself. He was taking it in even though not directly participating.

Then Sandra brought out the big parachute. We were onto a winner!  Even he couldn’t resist the colourful parachute and the game of dancing and then finding a certain colour when the music stopped.  He was in and loved it!  He then stayed on with the group and participated through the next activity, still cautious but he was there.

I think it’s still going to take some time for him to ‘dance like no one is watching ’ in the classes but I’m glad I persisted.  I am hoping that by encouraging him to participate, even when he is not sure, that it is setting him up for involvement in activities he will enjoy in the future. It also teaches him to not give up too easily, and also  to challenge yourself.

Who knows he might be the next Lleyton Hewitt and if he’s not, that’s okay with me, as long as he gives it a go.

For those in Wagga and interested in your little ones attending Sandra’s school of dance, you can find the details here.

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