Why would we dance with our children?
Twelve reasons in no particular order:
1. Dancing is non-verbal. Dancing is physical. Which is where our children are and the way they communicate with the world in their pre-verbal stage. Dance and movement provide us with a language with which to communicate with our children and clarify for ourselves. Dancing is an amazing tool to express things we cannot express in words, and things our minds cannot even comprehend or rationalise.
2. Dancing brings us into our body, which is always in the present. Our bodies feel what is now. Bring us into the now. Being in the present helps us to better tune into and respond to what’s being asked of us in the moment, rather than relying on preconceived ideas or beliefs based on what used to be or what we expected to be.
3. Dancing is fun! If we can let go of notions of how we should move or fears about what others may think of our movements, it feels so amazingly good to just move the way our bodies want to right now. Although many of us have not found this space, I think most of us crave it (hence the popularity of “dance as if no one is watching”).
4. Dancing is a wonderful way to move through whatever is coming up in the moment. It provides us with an embodied way to release tensions, let any emotions rise, move us and then fall away. In each moment, something new, reminding us of the transient nature of absolutely everything in life. It can help us find perspective and space, which is especially helpful in challenging times.
5. Dancing is great stress relief. When we’re less stressed, we feel better and are better parents. When our children are less stressed, they feel better and are better to their parents.
6. Dancing can be done anywhere, at anytime and in any place. We don’t need any special time or special equipment or special knowledge. Anyone with a body can move and can dance. We can dance for 2 minutes or for an hour. We can dance to the radio, sing our favourite songs, or to the sound of the rain on the roof. We can dance in the grocery store, in the living room or in the park. We can dance wearing our small baby or dance for him as he watches. We can dance together or each find our own movements. We can dance our favourite ballet or hip hop moves or let ourselves be moved from somewhere deep within. There is no wrong way to dance.
7. Dancing allows to model for our children. Modelling healthy activity, healthy expression, freedom of movement and presence. When we can ground ourselves through movement, we model this grounding for our children. When we can find joy and ease in our dance, we model such approaches to life.
8. Dancing increases self-esteem, self-awareness, coordination and self-mastery. For ourselves as parents when we see how easily we can move with our children, listen in the moment and trust ourselves and our intuition. For our children as they explore the amazing range of motion gifted to them by their physical bodies and are given space to express themselves.
9. Dancing gives everyone a safe place to lead and a safe place to follow. By allowing our children to lead a dance, we help them find their own sense of power. By leading our children in a dance, we foster their trust in us. By dancing together, we ground this power and trust in communication.
10. Dancing with our children is a social activity, offering social benefits in addition to the obvious physical, emotional, and mental ones. When we dance our own dance with others, we learn how to listen to our own needs and honour them while still being present and responsive to others. We learn to find balance, not only physically, but socially as well.
11. Dancing helps us to explore and give ourselves whatever it is we need in any given moment. If we’re tired, we can have a sleepy dance. If we have a broken leg, we can have an arm dance. If our children are super energetic, they can be as wild and crazy as they want. If our children are anxious, movement can give them an outlet for their fears. No matter what is going on now, we can dance it.
12. Dancing helps us love and celebrate our bodies. Helping us, as adults, return to this state and our children to maintain it.
I think there are as many reasons to dance with our children as there are people.
Why do you dance with your children?