• Teaching Toddlers To Dance

    Teaching toddlers to dance is fun, challenging, amazing and exhausting all wrapped into one. I have taught toddlers in various classes. Whether it’s called creative movement, baby ballet or tutu-time, there are key factors in adjusting to various personalities.

    I’m overly and excessively picky when it comes to picking the right class and teacher for my workouts. Therefore, I structure my student’s class the way I would want my own class to be. At certain studios, toddlers usually start taking dance classes as young as 2. I have always taught toddlers ages 3-5 and I keep no more than 8 students in a class. Believe me, it’s best to keep it small.

    When choosing a class for your child, keep these tips in mind. First off, make sure the instructor LOVES kids. You can pretty much tell if they don’t.  Again, this is what I do and what I’ve done over 15 years and have learned from other instructors who are very conscious on not only teaching a toddler but leave them wanting to dance even more!  This post can be directed to moms looking to enroll his or her child into a ballet class. And this post can be for someone thinking of teaching little ones in the dance world. These are tips on what you should look for.

    1. Start the students in a circle and engage in conversation. What’s your name? What’s your favorite color? Why do you like dancing?

    2. Music should be played softly so they can hear instruction.

    3. Be mindful of what they can or can’t do. Always use praise. Never yell. Whispering to them can actually have them turn down the noise level.

    4. Encourage them to do shapes with their arms. This is a great way to teach them circles, triangles, or squares.

    5. Pretend land. Give them a scenario such as being in a forest, castle or an island. What do they see? This will spark their creativity.

    Little girl touching her head with her toes.

    6. Across the floor. Have 2-3 dancers go at a time. They can pretend to be butterflies and walk across the floor on their tippy toes or walk like flamingos. This will increase flexibility in their legs.

    7. Barre work. Give them exercises such as tendu, passe, arabesque, and chaine turns. Even if it’s not perfect, always compliment their hard work.

    8. Almost to the end of class, sit them down and test them. Ask, “Who can show me butterflies?” This is a good way to know if they’re retaining information and if you’re teaching methods are done correctly.

    9. Closing the class. Play their favorite song and have them free dance! Let them dance however their little heart pleases. It helps to be confident and simply have fun.

    10. Award every child with a sticker, smile and lots of praise. They will leave feeling incredible and that’s the most important goal of the class.

     

     

  • Intend to Give Back

    There are many ways to give back this season. With Little Giant Life and on a personal basis, I always aim to give back to causes close to my heart.

    With the holidays just around the corneryikes less than 2 weeks! Think of those who are much need of hope. My favorite cause is supporting children in need. I revel in my students’ smiles. Why not purchase some last minute gifts for that much deserved smile? Here are some of my favorite causes.

     

    Have a Holiday #Sweater? You know you want to wear it!

    Save the Children created a fun campaign where you don your unforgettable (ok, maybe forgettable) holiday sweater, share it on social media or donate 5 bucks or do both! Round up your co-workers and have them strut their stuff with their silliest sweater. This can also be added as a fun activity for kids at school. No holiday sweater on hand? Then have them decorate one! It’ll be fun, creative, and teach kids to give back to others.

    Save the Children also has a great Holiday Gift Catalog. Here are some choices with a variation of dollar amounts:

    • Newborn care packages consisting of soap, baby blanket, breastfeeding tips, baby cap and parental counseling. $45
    • Books and other learning materials to help a young girl’s educational future. $75
    • A bicycle! Transportation can’t be taken for granted. Your donation will help healthcare workers reach needy families in their rural communities. $100

    Recently, Child Fund International partnered with Toms to give needy kids brand new shoes. Now, Child Fund has put together a detailed and very well-thought out Real Gifts Catalog.

    • For as little as $11, your donation will provide a child a mosquito net. Why is this important? It protects them for getting exposed to malaria.
    • As water is the fuel of life, your donation of just $50 can simply save a life by proving clean water.
    • If you’re feeling ultra generous, $275 will give someone the opportunity to make her clothes with a sewing machine. Better yet, you can be part of her entrepreneurial dream by starting her own at-home business!

    Macy’s and Make-A-Wish Campaign has a simple way of spreading their message of hope for children.Visit any Macy’s Department Store and drop off a letter to Santa! For every letter, Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish up to $1,000,000. And since we are in the digital age, you can also enter your letter online, here. Tomorrow is National Believe Day where Macy’s will donate $2 for every letter dropped off that day.

    Speaking of Make-A-Wish, I’m excited to say that I just became a volunteer and super amped to help this amazing organization! If not able to donate dollars, then giving your time is just as valuable. Trust me when I say that non-profit organizations truly appreciate your efforts to continue their cause.

    Floral arrangement with the words, aspire to inspire and give back.

    Will you give back this season? If so, let me know below!