Daughter Is No Longer Participating in Dance

Updated on December 26, 2008
D.F. asks from Twinsburg, OH
9 answers

I have a 3-year old daughter. She has been wanting to be a ballerina ever since I took her to see my friend's daughter dance in a dance recital. In fact, she wanted to be potty trained so she could go to ballet class. She took a 6-week class in the Summer and had so much fun. I then signed her up in the Fall. Unfortunately she has a different teacher. My daughter participated and still seemed to have fun. Then they had a day where she could bring a friend to class. I decided to bring one of her friends who has never danced before. While her friend was in class, my daughter performed at her best! Then her friend didn't want to participate in class halfway through. My daughter was sad and wouldn't do anything more in class. Ever since that day, she will not participate in class. She just stands in class twidling her fingers. I keep asking her if she likes going to Ballet and she says "yes" and that she wants to go. I try not to push her because I want it to be fun for her. I don't know if the day with her friend going to class was just a coincidence, or if it's the teacher (not being as much fun). Any suggestions? Should I pull her out of class? She used to have fun in class, I just don't know what has happened. Plus she is not as outgoing as she used to be, so I am worried that her self-esteem may be lowering from class. And also, her new teacher is very nice and does not yell at the children or anything like that. Thank you and Happy Holidays!! :-)

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So What Happened?

Thank you for the wonderful responses. They did help me out a lot. I really think the core of the problem was her friend not wanting to dance with her that one day. The reason I say this is because we just had 3 weeks off for Winter Break. A few days before her 1st day back to dance, she said to me "Mom, I really want to go to Ballet!" I was shocked! It came out of the blue. I then made it all fun when she put her ballet outfit on. I told her to show me some ballet moves and make sure she shows the teacher. The teacher spoke with me after class saying that she participated the whole time and was not shy and she was even happy! So I think she forgot about what was making her sad before. Thank goodness!!

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answers from Indianapolis on

Having had 4 daughters and 2 sons in dance for over 20 years I would advise you to wait at least 3 years before putting her in a ballet class.
If she wants a class, just put her in a "movement" class of some kind so she can enjoy the music and dance there.
Dance is a great mind builder and creative outlet as well as physical activity for children.

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answers from Indianapolis on

Three is a little young to be to concerned. She obviously isn't enjoying it at this point and a vacation from it for several months would be a good idea at this point. Try it again in the summer. Yes, I do think her friend not wanting to do it with her had some effect on her, but that isn't the real reason she has lost interest at this time.

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answers from Elkhart on

I am a former dance teacher and understand what you are going through. I would wait and see if she gets better before you pull her out. A lot of kids go through this, especially at this time of year.
Also, you could contact the school and see if they have an opening in another class. Maybe there is one available with the teacher that she previously had.
My daughter, who is almost 5, acts like she doesn't want to go either and I never really know what she does in class, but as soon as I mention not going she becomes upset and insists that she likes it.
I would wait it out and let her finish the year before deciding if she should continue.

I would also discuss your concern with the teacher. I would often have to give the "extra effort" or encouraging word to make sure all of my dancers were doing it. Sometimes it is as simple as standing next to them during a movement or asking them to do something special by picking out the stamp for the day.

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answers from Columbus on

I would try to get her old dance instructor back, at 3 years old they just know when they are not comfortable around certain people.My niece is in ballet and loves it she started at 2 1/2 and is now 4 years old her baby sister even goes with her and tries to do the steps. She is not even 2 years old yet.Good luck.



answers from Lafayette on

My daughters are both in dance and gymnastics they sometimes say they dont want to go and there has been a few times that the teacher has told me that they wouldnt participate. I just ask them if they like it and if they want to keep going, they always tell me yes so I remind them that they need to listen to the teacher and try to do the things they are asking them to do and if they dont start trying then we will have to quit going. I also have them show me what they are learning and "practice" at home, we praise them A LOT and then when its time to go to class I tell them to go and show the teacher how good they are getting since they have been practicing so hard at home. At our school they do not let parents watch, we had observation this past week and most of the kids would not perform because we were watching. Now I see why they dont allow parents to watch, I asked the teacher if my kids usually participate and she said "oh yes they do really well they are just playing shy". If you are watching her maybe it would help if you were not in the room and just ask the teacher to talk to her and see if she can get her to try again. Also how long has it been that she brought a friend? They thrive on routine at this age, when I participated in a mommy and me class right before their regular class that is when I had the most trouble with them not wanting to go ect. It took a few weeks for them to get over that and I stopped going to that class with them because it was throwing them off.



answers from Toledo on

That does seem curious, the sudden change. I would talk to the teacher and see if she has noticed and if she has any ideas on what the problem is. If she seems to have changed outside of class too, maybe something else is going on. Does she have other caregivers? If she doesn't participate, there is no benefit to her going. I'd take her out and see if she misses it and asks to go back. If not, then try finding some other activity she might enjoy. Good luck!



answers from Columbus on

Have you asked her if she's sad because her friend didn't want to be a ballerina rather than how she feels about the ballet class itself?

I would probe that gently and if she tells you that it made her sad that her friend didn't want to dance, I would explain to her that everyone has something different that they love to do and her friend might want to do something else. It doesn't mean that they can't be friends and have fun doing other things together. Just because her friend didn't want to doesn't mean that she can't be a ballerina herself.

I think at this age (at least I've noticed it with my daughter who is 3) they equate friendship many times with liking/doing all the same things. (My daughter sees other girls like her doing or enjoying certain things and she wants to follow.) My daughter has a special buddy with whom she shares many interests, but they have had misunderstandings before during play that have caused some sad feelings that we've had to address because my daughter avoided getting into the same play situation again. I had been surprised that they were old enough for this kind of thing to happen, but there it was. After I talked to her about the problem and explained that her friend was still her friend, she was (they were) fine. She's also had situations where she suggested something to do with her friends and when they wanted to do something else, she cried.

Maybe whenever your daughter goes to that space now she is reminded of her friend not wanting to dance with her and that is what's making her sad? If I had a negative experience as a kid, I sometimes associated it with the place. For example, I had a bad experience with the swimming program at the YMCA when I was that age and my mother had a hard time getting me to go to any other classes at that building.

Not sure if any of that helps, but I would try that. You might also ask the teacher to give her a little extra praise when she does participate or ask her to introduce her to another little girl as a special dance friend. That way she feels a special connection over dance with someone else she sees regularly.
Good luck! They're so cute in leotards and ballet slippers!



answers from Cleveland on

I would talk to the teacher and see if she could could help you coax her back in. If she is a good teacher with young children then she will have suggestions and handle it well. If anything else you will find out if maybe you need to find another class for her.



answers from Fort Wayne on

My daughter was 3 when she took ballet/tap also. Right around December she decided that she was done. If it hadn't been for the fact that I had already bought her costume, I totally would've taken her out, but I had! So, I told her that if she just hung in there until the recital, she would get a trophy. That's what kept her in. As soon as the year was over, I didn't make her go back. I suggest now at that age, joining a dance class that isn't one where they pretty much HAVE to go from August through May. I just think they're too young to find something like that interesting enough to be excited about it all year. They do the exact same routine every class too, did you know that? Boring.... Anyway, I let my daughter sit out classes for a couple of years. She did TBall in the summer and that was it. Now, she is in gymnastics. It's great because she started getting burned out from it because she doesn't enjoy all the different stations (by the way, she's 6 now). So, I asked her if she'd rather take just a tumbling class. I was able to switch her over and she's really excited again. Plus, if the tumbling doesn't work for her, all I have to do is give a 30 day notice and I can take her out. To me, when they're young, this sort of setup is much better because it's not so permanent.

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