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Child Development

8 Incredible Health Benefits of Enrolling Your Child in Dance Classes

Many of us have memories of heading to tap, jazz, or ballet classes as little girls, and want the same for our children. While we hope it will be a great way for them to make friends, have fun, and get some of their abundant energy out, there are actually a ton of other incredible benefits, too. If you are thinking of enrolling your child in dance classes, read on to find out why you should!

1.    Provides a Great Opportunity to Make Friends Outside of School

School can be tough, even for the brightest and most extroverted of children. We can all remember a time in our school lives when our friendship group abandoned us or a best friend moved away, and we felt alone and vulnerable. Unfortunately, there will likely be a time for your child, too, and so having friends at dance class means they have others to turn to.

2.    Boosts Self Esteem

If you’ve ever taken a dance class yourself, you’ll know the feeling of confidence you get when you get all the steps right. For children, dance classes can provide the perfect place to try new things and gain confidence doing something they love. It’s also a great way to increase their physical self-awareness so they can excel in other sports.

3.    Increases Fitness

Dancing can be a strenuous activity, but unlike other forms of exercise, you’ll never see a dancer dancing their heart out with an expression that says they’d rather be anywhere else in the world! Dancing is f-u-n, which is why it’s such an incredible form of exercise. Your child won’t even know they’re burning calories and increasing their fitness, they’ll just be grooving to the music!

4.    It Gives Non-Academic Kids a Chance to Shine

Some of us struggle with certain subjects more than others, and if your child shows a flair for moving their body, you should absolutely enroll them in dance classes. It may be the place they truly excel, and it can even help them gain critical learning skills that can help them perform better in the classroom, too.

5.    Dancing is a Creative Outlet

Dancing is not just about learning the steps – it’s about relaxing into a state of flow and letting the music guide your movements. With the rise of jazz in the 1920s, young people finally shrugged off the stiff ballroom movements of the 19th century. Nowadays, dancing is about creativity and art, so give your child that outlet.

6.    It’s a Great Opportunity to Try on New Identities

Every dancer started with one form of dance, such as jazz or ballet, but many take several different dance classes or find their favorite form of dance later down the line. This allows them to try on new ways of moving and dressing so they can experiment and find the things they love early.

7.    Improves Flexibility

Not only does dancing improve your child’s flexibility, but it can last for decades if they continue to stay active. Many dancers continue to be able to do the splits and bend in ways an inactive person takes years to master. People with a high level of flexibility enjoy better posture, better muscle tone, and have a decreased risk of injury.

8. It’s a Mood Booster

Life is full of ups and downs, but getting that blood flowing and moving to great music will get the endorphins (AKA the happy hormone!) pumping so your child will feel much brighter and happier when they leave class than when they arrived.

So grab your child their first pair of jazz shoes, ballet shoes, or tap shoes, and find a class to enroll them in near you. They’ll make a ton of friends, have plenty of fun, and increase their physical and mental wellness to boot!

Categories
kids health

What to Do if Your Child Is Afraid of the Dentist

Fear of the dentist is common among children, and it’s only natural. It can be pretty intrusive to have a stranger probing around your mouth, and the sounds of drills and suction machines are loud and unnerving. If you want to reduce your child’s fear of the dentist, here are five easy things you can do.

Choose the Right Dentist

Your first step in reducing your child’s fear of dentists is to find the right dentist. Do some research and look for family dental specialists. Dentists accustomed to working with children will be better at putting your child’s mind at ease, and this is particularly important if your child is nervous.

A good Asheville dentist will help your child feel comfortable and relaxed, and this will reduce their anxiety about the next visit.

Avoid a Surprise Trip

If you have a child who is very frightened of the dentist, it can be tempting to avoid telling your child about an upcoming appointment and to just take them in as a surprise. This will prevent a long and nervous buildup to the appointment, but will probably make your child much more scared about the appointment when they arrive. They’ll feel ambushed, and it’s not a great way to maintain a good relationship between your child and their dentist.

Instead, give them a little advanced warning so that they can ask you any questions they might have. Don’t give them too much time, as they could be anxious for months. Just tell them a day or two before, and emphasize that it’s okay to be nervous. Tell them you’ll be with them the whole time and that nothing bad will happen.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Use positive reinforcement to forge a positive attitude to the dentist. You could play dentist games or make believe dentist at home, allowing your child to be in control of the scenario and taking turns to be the dentist and the patient. Having fun that relates to the dentist will create positive associations with the dentist, reducing anxiety in the long run.

You could also reward your child after a dental visit. Even something small like a “well done” sticker is a great way to show your child some extra love after the appointment. Alternatively, you could schedule something more fun for immediately after the appointment so that the dentist visit becomes just a small part of the day.

Practice Good Dental Hygiene

If your child is anxious about visits to the dentist, it’s a good idea to minimize the trips. You should go for regular check-ups and visits, but reduce the risk of more invasive and potentially painful procedures by practicing good dental hygiene.

Your child should brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. As they get older, flossing is essential to maintain cleanliness between the teeth, and a fluoride mouthwash after meals is a good idea, too.

Preventing unnecessary dental work is an easy way to make dentist appointments less frightening.

Be Open and Honest

Encouraging your children to be honest about their fears is a good way to make the fears seem less personal and all-encompassing. It’s okay to have worries and anxieties about things, so give your child the space to worry if that’s what they need to do.

With each visit to the dentist, your child will hopefully feel less afraid and more confident.

Categories
Parenting & Family

How to Get Through Life With An Autistic Child

Parenting can be tough at the best of times, once you have that first child then your life will never be the same again. From living a life of relative freedom, hitting the gym, going out with friends, taking vacations whenever you want, your life will plunge into a world of diapers, crying, fear, laughter, school runs, late nights of worry and everything else that goes with having a child.

Parenting is very demanding and even more so if you have a child with autism. Parents of autistic children are demanded upon a great deal more than other parents and rely heavily on the support of organizations, charities and people like Chris Manente to teach them on coping with a child with autism. We all want to give our children the best possible lives and there is no reason that an autistic child can not live a long, healthy and happy life. After speaking to several organizations, we have put together some top tips for you on getting through life if you have an autistic child.

Consistency

Having a daily routine for your child is incredibly important, autistic children need routine in order to compartmentalize their life and a break in this routine will leave it difficult for them to compute information. From the moment that they wake up to the moment that they go to bed, you should be aiming to keep their daily routine the same each day. Order in a world that your child perceives to be chaotic is one of the best ways that you can help your child.

Lighting

Many autistic people are able to see the strobing in fluorescent lighting which non-sufferers cannot see, for this reason it will be important that around the home, you are helping your child by letting in as much natural light as possible and using full spectrum lighting.

Minimize Noise

Autistic kids are much more sensitive to noise and you can help to minimize this around the home with a few smart design ideas. Try your best to buffer noise with wall fabrics and rugs. Competing sounds need to be kept to a minimum as well, often people will adjust the volume on the television if people are talking, for most of us this is fine but a child with autism will be able to hear each sound clearly and this can cause confusion in their heads, try to stay aware of competition sounds in the home.

Create a Safe Zone

When your child begins to feel overwhelmed by what is happening, a great way to help them out is to create a safe zone in the house, a place that is quiet and tranquil where they can retreat to and gather their thoughts. This is a very important step to take as there will be times when things get a little bit too much. Give your child a few options for where they would like their safe zone and then add some small decorations to really make it their own.

Categories
Child Development

Let The Child Play

child playing

Today I dropped off Rey at daycare and there has been a new little girl in there the past few of times we have gone in. She is very quiet and shy and just observes all the other kids in the room holding her bottle. I saw her parents once on her first day of “school.” Like any child it is going to take them a few days, sometimes weeks to adjust to their new surroundings.

The mornings that I take Reagan in I typically hang out with her for a few minutes while she eats breakfast and I talk to her teacher. We have become friends over the past few months and we get to catch each other up on our hectic schedules. Today Reagan sat down next to this little girl to have breakfast and instantly started chatting her up. My child, not shy! I joke (not very funny when I really think about it) that Reagan is my milk carton child because she will walk up to anyone and wave to say hello. I’m trying to get her to understand that it’s great to be social but not to her extreme.

Anyways…this little girl just stared at Rey and watched her. She had already been given her food and was not interested in it all. I said hello to her and again, nothing. I asked Brandi if she was always this shy or if she just took a little longer in the day to get going. It was only 7:30 in the morning and sometimes it takes a while to get moving unlike Reagan; out of bed at 5:30 every morning and raring to go! Thankfully Brian and I are morning people.

Brandi told me that she was pretty much like this all day. Didn’t really interact with her classmates and rarely spoke anything. She said her parents were very strict with her and Brandi had a lot of rules she had to follow while the little girl was at daycare. She mentioned that she didn’t really get to play at home and from what it seemed lived a very sheltered life. I was saddened to hear this because I think all children should be allowed to be just that, children. And that includes giving them play time and letting them experience new things.

I was glad that this little girl was in daycare and was being given the opportunity to experience something new, hopefully make some new friends and let her inner child out. It will be good for her social development. No doubt Reagan will help encourage her along as she loves hanging out with her daycare friends; ever the social butterfly. In time I’m sure this little girl will feel more acclimated to her surroundings and start to enjoy herself and she can carry that new found freedom into her home life as well. Let the child play! Hence my quote of the day today:

“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.”