We typically imagine learning should be linear, but in reality it can often feel much more messy then that. Managing our expectations at the best of times can be difficult, but losing control over attending in-person classes definitely puts a spotlight on these feelings. I think we can all agree that learning dance these past 10 months has felt anything but linear.
So how do we keep moving forward? How can we best support our dancers?
When we try to focus on too many things, we might feel like we’re not winning at all. So we need to narrow things down. Bring our focus back to one or two things at a time and create a plan to improve those things. Goal setting gives us wins. It helps us to recognize and celebrate the small things, which in turn improves our self-confidence and our sense of control over our situation.
Goal setting is something that dance teachers talk about in our dance classes. But if you are interested in how to guide your child through this process here’s some quick tips from our teaching team:
- Small goals and short term goals are the best place to start. Maybe your goal is to practice your dance one time outside of your class each week this month. Or maybe it’s as simple as arriving to class on time. While a long term goal might be to get your splits; a short term goal might be to stretch for 5 minutes every day.
- Make your goal attainable and realistic. Sometime we need help with this. If your goal is to get your splits, giving yourself a one week timeline might not be realistic. But setting a goal of stretching 3 times a week might be.
- Habit based goals can get us in the regular routine of doing something positive. Keeping track with check-marks on a calendar or a similar system, can help us to see and feel good about our progress.
- Celebrate the small wins. We don’t always see our own progress, and sometimes we might feel we’re moving at a slow pace. Celebrating the small steps (e.g. stretching 5 minutes/day for 2 weeks) is just as important as the big wins (e.g. getting your splits).
- Encouragement helps us to keep going. Recognition from parents, teachers and mentors with kind words, can go a long way.
Need some more inspiration or ideas on encouraging goal setting in younger dancers? Check out these 7 activities for goal setting with kids from Big Life Journal. The family bucket list is a favorite with my family. We often sit and plan our week this way too. What do we each want to achieve this week? How can we support each other? Building this conversation into our regular Sunday morning routine has helped us to share our short term goals and set up our week to best support one-another. Yes, my 4 year old’s answer is typically “I want to play” or “we should go for a walk”, but it’s great to hear what he values and incorporate him in the process.
The ability to attend in-person classes is currently not within our control, but that doesn’t mean we’ve lost all control over our training. Set a small short term goal that you can achieve in 4 weeks and celebrate your wins. Your teachers are here to help you and want to see you continue to grow in your dancing. Building skills that will serve our dancers throughout their lives is so important to us. And goal setting is one of those skills that translates beyond the studio walls.
Current dancers with Flexpointe Studios, login to your Teachable account and check the “For Our Community” module for a quick video lesson and worksheets from Miss Melissa on setting your next dance goal.