She waits outside the living room and listens for the words, “presenting Amanda,” that signals it’s time to walk onto the carpet. She gracefully glides to center stage (in front of the couch where her parents are sitting) with a high head and sparkling eyes; her feet in third position, arms gently bent at the elbow and her fingers positioned just like a perfect ballerina. “Queue the music,” she says. She takes her last step and smiles with pride as she hears the applause of her parents.
This little girl was me. I remember my four sisters and I would jump out of bed, eat breakfast and get ready to dance to one of our three favorite soundtracks: Shania Twain, High School Musical and Hairspray.
We would jump in front of the camera and try to outperform the other, as our dad recorded us, and we would spin and twirl around the room to feel like princesses. You could say, with all of this practice, my sisters and I know a thing or two about the art of a good dance party. Use the five tips below to help your kids plan their own dance party.
You absolutely need the perfect sound tract to jam out to. It doesn’t matter what music you pick, as long as you remember these insightful words from my eight year old sister Gracie. “You have to feel the music.” Choose music that allows your children to feel free to be their fun, silly selves. “For me it can’t be rock n’ roll. It needs to be soft, jazzy, kids music or sassy music,” Gracie continues. Take her advice, and listen to as many songs until the right one comes along, then create a soundtrack for the next time your kids want to dance.
A costume will turn any dance party into a full on event for your kids. Let them sort through your costume bin to find past halloween costumes to mix and match from. Let their creativity run wild with this one. Use old jewelry, dresses, pirate costumes, fairy wings, high heels, wigs, and anything else they can find. Giving them free rein increases their confidence and helps them feel empowered to make their own decisions. Just a warning though. You may have to remind them to tone it down a little when they go back to school.
It’s not a dance party if nobody’s watching, right? No matter how many times my sisters and I danced in front of our parents, we always felt their praise and love for us. From my own experience, I know children yearn to be seen and heard, so give your boys and girls the time and attention they want and need. Just like my parents did for us, introduce your kids to the stage and give them the floor where they can show off their moves, from funky breakdancing to graceful ballet.
“It doesn’t matter where you’re dancing. Just dance,” Gracie says. Your kids don’t need anything special or official. Any place will do. I have memories of us dancing in our backyard, basement or our front living room, that we decorated with blankets and pillows. If your kids want to decorate the stage like my sisters, encourage it! Make a fort with them to dance in, or create signs with them for you to hold up to when they perform for you.
You have a nice soundtrack, beautiful costumes, an audience and a place to dance. Now, the last last, and most important key ingredient to any dance party is FUN. Luckily children come by this naturally. But sometimes we take life too seriously. Having a full on dance party will hopefully inspire you to let loose, get down on their level, and have fun with them. Get out there, and make some memories!