Recently, I’ve been reading research on how parents play an important role in their child’s talent development. In particular, the way we speak about experiences in front of and around our children can have a direct impact upon their behaviour and how they perceive and frame their experiences.
This is particularly true of environments where emotions may be heightened, such as dance competitions and dance exams. We all want our children to have positive experiences, so it’s important that our behaviour mimics that we would like to see from our children. Here’s my top five tips for helping your dancer achieve success.
1. Being flustered before a big event will have a flow on effect on your dancer and may cause them to place unnecessary pressure on themselves. Control what you can, whether that’s packing the car the night before or pre-packing high energy snacks, so that you’re able to provide as calm an environment as possible for your dancer (and yourself!). Even better, have your dancer help you with this process so that they can learn to do it for themselves.
2. Praise the process, not the outcome. There is so much about dance competitions, for example, that we can’t control, so focusing on a “win” may be misguided – instead focus on improvement and development.
3. Avoid dwelling on mistakes and criticising your dancers’ performance (or that of any other team/dancer). If you don’t have anything nice to say, probably don’t say it! Especially not in front of your dancer. Instead reiterate that you’re really proud of your dancer.
4. Keep your own emotions, facial expressions and body language in check. Sitting with arms crossed and a frown while watching is not going to be inspiring. Remember to praise what they did well.
5. You are your dancer’s best cheerleader – but you’re not their coach. Leave corrections and coaching to the experts (your dancers’ teachers!).
17 April 2023