Are Rules Really Meant To Be Broken?

Dance Class Window

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.

Cheers!

32 replies
  1. jacqueline
    jacqueline says:

    Listening to your rant brings me back to the days when I signed my daughter up for her Irish Step Dancing Class. It was insane with a class of 16 kids, that there would end up being over 40 people ion the room. I kid you not sometimes both parents would stay to watch their kids dance. This was held at the local community center, and it too had just a small window, forget even trying to see your daughter dance, as the room was so full that people always stood just inside the door blocking any chance of viewing your child perform.
    After seeing this countless times, and because of numerous complaints brought forth to the instructor, she too agreed that enough was enough. Parents were no longer allowed to stay in the room,,this enabled the children to actually focus their attention on the instructor and their dance routines. the end of each 3rd week, the parents were invited in to see their children’s progress, as well join in the fun of watching the kids perform during their final recitals.

    Reply
  2. Jenn Sephton
    Jenn Sephton says:

    I completely agree with you and disagree with the studio’s stance that they can’t kick them out. They should be at the door saying “time to say bye to mommy and daddy” and gently guiding the parents away. At my daughter’s dance studio, the kids line up outside of the room, wave to us and go in a “train” inside. They also have a family day – one day in the year that we are allowed to come and watch the class, snap pictures, etc.

    Reply
    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      Ha, our listing says that the last day will be the family day where we all get to come inside. So much for that… I just want my daughter to get the uninterrupted experience we paid for her to have.

      Reply
  3. Erin
    Erin says:

    I had the exact same experience.

    In our situation the instructors were young and inexperienced. I think they were uncomfortable asking parents to leave.

    I would have thought that if your child was uncomfortable in a class without you, a goal would be to gradually pull back and let them become independent…but that didn’t seem to be the case.

    I really enjoyed the hour quietly sitting outside the room with my Starbucks and magazine…occasionally peeking in the little window.

    Reply
    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      There are actually two windows but for whatever reason the bottom one is blocked. The other option would be to stand outside in the cold and watch through the huge windows. That just seems creepy though.

      Reply
  4. Kaila
    Kaila says:

    Wow, that REALLY gets under my skin.

    Have you talked to the studio? I would explain to them that I am paying a lot of money for an experiance that my daughter is clearly not participating in.

    There is no reason, after the first class that those parents should still be in the room. It is not pair to the kids, the instructor and the other parents!

    Reply
  5. Leslie
    Leslie says:

    I consider this an opinion point more than a rant Chris and I disagree with the dance school. They should be greeting the children at the door and keeping the parents out. It’s definitely annoying dealing with people who don’t think that the rules apply to them … ugh.

    Reply
  6. Jackie
    Jackie says:

    Very well said Chris.
    I agree with you.. I would say something around the parents so they hear you… I would take Julia into the class and wait around a few minutes and then say “well daddy has to wait outside the class Julia… Parents are NOT allowed to stay in the class” so each parent hears you and hopefully they all leave the room
    Where Hailey goes it is the same NO parents are allowed in the room and I will say not one parents goes in and no one hogs the window we all take turns looking in.

    Reply
  7. Anne
    Anne says:

    My daughter did that class at Eva James many moons ago, and she was one of the ones who wasn’t comfortable participating alone (it was her very first class without parent involvement). However, I did not stay and do the class with her. I tried to leave, and she cried, so I sat in the corner with her on my lap so she could watch. Next class, she had the choice of participating or leaving. She got teary, but chose to stay and I sat out in the hall with everyone else.

    The girls who ran our class were very good about saying “No” to parents who tried to participate.

    Reply
    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      We are there too, Anne, but the instructors came out the door last class and said they asked the parents to leave but couldn’t force them out. None of the parents decided to come out of the class. It’s disappointing.

      Reply
  8. Renee B
    Renee B says:

    Very well said. I have been in the same situation. I spoke with the instructor (read: loudly voiced my opinion immediately after class ended while the “in room” parents were still coddling their children) and was told that they make exceptions based on the needs of the children. Then WHY do you advertise it as NO Parents Allowed?!? After 3 classes 8 of us pulled our children, which made up almost half of the 25 child class, to move then to another class because our children weren’t learning due to the “in room” parents’ coddling.

    Hopefully the situation improves and your daughter can enjoy her class.

    Reply
    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      The problem is that it is easier for me to hide behind a post than it is to make a scene. I’m getting closer to that point of my life though, as I’ve noticed myself speaking up more and more lately.

      Reply
  9. Christine
    Christine says:

    Oh, I agree with you whole-heartedly. In our little one’s ballet class, parents are not to disrupt the ballet teacher’s dance instruction – that means letting the teacher do her thing…without parents being in there and “hovering”.

    Keep us posted on the situation. Curious to hear what happens.

    Reply
    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      I can save you the suspense of waiting to find out what’ll happen. No one will say anything and all will stay status quo in the class. When the instructor said they did all they could do, I knew that was the end game. I’ll still write to the city but nothing will come of it.

      Reply
  10. Matt
    Matt says:

    I haven’t experienced this as B is still to young to be in dance class (Andrea is pushing it, something about he told her he doesn’t want to be a Lawyer, he just WANTS TO DANCE – I told her that was Dazed and Confused and she gave me the same look). But I totally get your point about the rules. Nothing irks me more than adults blatantly ignoring rules that are there for a specific reason – jumping in line get’s me more angry than anything. John Travolta didn’t invent the line for people to just ignore it and turn it into a disorganised mess…look what’s happened to McDonalds…it’s a mess in there. The idea of one large line feeding into smaller lines…stupid Ronald.

    Let me know the next time you go, I will send Dave with you.

    Reply
    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      Oh man, don’t even get me started on the debacle that is fast food lines. They need to hire a security guy for those things to keep people in check! As for the class, it is more frustrating from week to week. I already told Kris that I don’t think I can go anymore because I will get more belligerent every week until they kick me out, lol.

      Reply
  11. Nolie
    Nolie says:

    I think after that first class they should be kicked out. They are a distraction to not only their children but the other kids as well. Also like you mentioned now your kid is wondering why you or your wife aren’t in there. Also kids need to learn independence and guess how they learn, by us pushing them to try things on their own in a safe environment. Heck when my son was 3 I put him in gymnastics, not only were we not allowed in the gym (was run at a community centre), there was not even any windows to watch from.

    Reply
    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      We did the alone gymnastics as well and we’re so proud of our little guy. My point is not to insult parents whose kids aren’t ready, because all kids develop differently. It’s when you sign up for the no parents class but then go in like you have no idea, that I start to get upset.

      Reply
  12. ashley picco
    ashley picco says:

    being the mom of a child that had a VERY hard time adjusting to being without us, it is difficult to watch. However, once I realized he wasnt adjusting (this was to a play class, not dance class – and I never went in) I withdrew him from the class and that’s how we ended up at tiny hoppers!

    I would suggest that you look up the program manager (their name should be in the guide) and call them directly. They may be able to tell the staff to kick them out (or maybe you can suggest a sign be posted on the door that parents are NOT to enter the classroom at all – or suggest that the instructors wait in the hallway and greet the kids and send them in, without mommy and daddy)

    Reply

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