See that picture above? That’s the tiny little window I get to look through while my 2.5 year old daughter is in her very first dance class. When we chose this particular dance class, it was under the assumption that it would be just the kids and the teachers in the room. After all, that’s why they have two options, one for parents and tots together and another for kids who are okay on their own.
I was so excited for my daughter as we drove to her first class. She had her little tutu and she was all smiles as she entered the room and ran right over to the mat to sit with her teacher. She barely said goodbye to us and I was more than alright with that because I loved to see how happy she was. As the other families began to file in, half of them surprisingly late, I noticed a trend forming. Over half of the children immediately freaked out at the thought of being left in the room alone, so their parents went into the class and participated with them.
I get the first class jitters thing and while it bothered me that the class was basically a wash due to all the disruptions, I was sympathetic to the fact that some of the kids needed to get accustomed to it. Besides, I had my own problems in the hallway with one of the other Dads, who was breaking the unspoken “Dad Rule” by hogging all the tiny window time. Oh, did I mention that his wife was IN the class with their daughter!
We approached the second class cautiously optimistic that all the kids would be good to go in on their own this time. You know, because this was the reason we all chose this class, right? So the kids could explore their new found freedom and independence. The results were shocking. Not only did over half the parents still walk right in to attend the class, they didn’t even try to let their kids go in alone. None of the kids were screaming. None of them were clinging or dragging their feet. So why were the parents in there??
Here’s the thing. I don’t care about whether your child is comfortable being alone in the class or not. I only care about getting the experience I paid my hard earned money for my child to get. So when 5 out of the 9 kids have parents in the small dance room, it is distracting for the kids who are interested in actually listening to the teacher and following her instructions. Not to mention the fact that the small window I fight to watch through is now blocked by parents on the INSIDE of the room!
This is not a rant against the kids who aren’t comfortable going to dance class by themselves. I’m talking about the parents who signed up for the “no parents allowed” class knowing full well that their child wasn’t ready for it. This may all seem a little harsh but c’mon, you know your child better than anybody. Plus, there was another class offered that parents were allowed to participate in. Now my daughter has to watch you having fun with your kid in the class while wondering why her Mommy and Daddy aren’t in there and that’s not fair to her.
My point here is that while you may think your presence in the class isn’t distracting, it actually is. I realize they aren’t actually learning professional dance moves, but through that tiny window, I see the crowded room and the intimidation in my daughter’s eyes as she bumps into another Mom’s leg as she dances, care free, around the room. I mentioned it to the teachers of the class, who agreed with me, but said they couldn’t kick the parents out of the room, which was also not what I wanted. I just wish people would be more conscious of how their actions affect other people. Going forward, I’ll have to start focusing my efforts more on fighting for time at the small window and less on who’s in the room.
Thanks for letting me rant. I don’t do it very often but it felt pretty good to get it all out.