As recital time approaches practicing at home is more important than ever. In an effort to help your dancer be confident, excited, comfortable, and prepared, practicing at home can support not only their on stage performance but other healthy lifelong habits as well.
Creating a routine around practicing at home can encourage the discipline of practice. This discipline, and the ability to remain consistent, can aid dancers in not only knowing their choreography more confidently but also completing other routine tasks like homework, and household chores. Along with developing discipline around a task or activity, time management often goes hand in hand with developing discipline around practice and routine. Helping young dancers to understand how to estimate and plan for the time it will take for them to practice along with managing their other responsibilities helps them to develop a solid foundation for strong time management skills later in life. One of the biggest benefits of at home practice is the role it plays in completing the learning process. While we often learn and refine in class, the act of practicing at home gives dancers another opportunity to solidify their learning and create muscle memory about what has been learned and retained. Similar to other at home learning opportunities like homework, when dancers have the chance to repeat the choreography outside of the classroom, they are more likely to return with it fresh in their minds for their following class. Practicing at home can also be a nice physical break from whatever else they may be doing that day. Beyond just releasing pent up energy or shaking those feelings of mid-day boredom, at home practice can be a nice break from screens as well as a good way to break up homework or other sedentary activities. As a parent, getting involved in your child’s practice routine can be a great way for you to stay involved and recognize their efforts. With a focus on process over perfection, acknowledging their efforts to stick with it, keep a habit or routine or even just accomplish the task of running through their dance two times gives parents an opportunity to positively reinforce the good habits their dancer may be building. Additionally, dancers are likely proud to show you what they’ve been working on and excited for you to see the choreography they are excited about too! Practicing at home should be about building confidence and growing over time. Help you dancer to set small goals around their practice effort, starting with even just completing one routine per day. Encourage them to find time - each dance is less than 3 minutes long - and check-in on their progress from time to time. If you have a little dancer who needs your help to practice, make it fun by setting up an “audience” of favorite dolls, stuffed animals etc. Focus on completing the task rather than performing the dance perfectly and enjoy watching your child’s confidence grow!
Looking for more help around at home practice? Stay tuned for next week’s blog post about setting up a supportive at home practice environment.