Taking a dance class can help your child grow in many ways. It teaches self-discipline and poise, as well as grace, which all will boost your child’s self-esteem and give them a sense of accomplishment. If your child is interested in dancing, let them take a few lessons. It could spark a lifelong passion for the arts, and will most likely inspire a love for the rhythm of the dance. Of course with dance, as well as any other challenge that your child takes on, it is up to you to work with the instructor to ensure the experience is a positive one.

Some say that a child should begin dance classes as early as possible, even as young as two years. These classes aren’t rigidly structured classes; usually with preschool age children it is called a “creative movement” class. Only you can really know if your child is ready. If he or she is very shy or not emotionally ready, forcing them into a situation where they aren’t comfortable may discourage them completely. On the other hand, if you feel that your child is ready, and shows an interest, getting them started early will give them an incredible boost.

Be very supportive of your child. If it’s possible, arrange to stay and watch the class whenever you can, that way you can praise your child on their progress honestly. Be very free with your compliments—when a child does well they need to know that you have noticed. If you have taken dance lessons it will be much easier to help your child with any problems that they have, but you can always talk to the instructor and ask what you can do to help and encourage your child.

Remember, above all else, dance is supposed to be fun. Encourage your child to do their best and not give up when things are hard. With that said, if after 6 months of dance lessons that they don’t want to continue, it will still be a learning experience for you both.