So You Think You Can Dance?

How do you stay active?

My youngest son is not interested in athletics at all. We put both he and his older brother in soccer when they were young to learn the skills and how to play the game. My oldest son loved soccer and worked really hard to get good at it. My youngest, well, he would take a nap on the field during the game, over go off to the side and sit down or bounce up and down on the blow-up barriers between the fields. It wasn’t worth it to us (literally and figuratively) to keep him in the sport. We tried others that were offered after school — including riding his bike, golf and tennis to no avail. Our next challenge was to help him figure out what he did like to do.

He showed an interest in cars, art and drama, and we’ve encouraged him in these areas, but we really wanted to find something to would get him more active. It’s not that he has to play a sport, we just want him to move more. My husband took my sons for a run with him to see if that might be a fit, but my son came home and said “no way.” We were starting to get discouraged, but weren’t ready to throw in the towel. Our son had done Wii Dance before and liked it. He came home and showed off some of his moves. My husband and I thought, what about a dance class?  We were fortunate enough to find a class that was nearby and decided to give it a try.

My son was fairly happy to try out the class. He couldn’t wait to show off his moves and learn some new ones, but dance class ended up being more challenging than that. It required you to do stretches at the beginning prior to actually dancing. I had forgotten all about this, it has been decades since I last took a dance class. My son struggled to do the exercises, even making grunts and sighs of anguish during the warm-ups. I kept thinking, please don’t let him try to take a nap in the middle of class, or go off to the side to play. Thankfully he is older now, and was able to keep going with the class, but he did struggle. It was something new. It was hard, as his parent, to watch. I was so proud of him for trying, but felt for him.

I don’t know if dancing is in his future or not, but we’re going to give it another try. We’re hoping with some more classes, he’ll start to see how hard work pays off, and how you can have a lot of fun with it. If he doesn’t, we’ll continue to explore other ways for him to be active.

How do you help your child experience new things? How do you help them be active?

We (Wii) Dance

Do you have a Wii or know someone who does?  If so, have you ever done Wii Dance?

My boys were introduced to Wii Dance during after school activities. When I picked them up one day I saw my youngest son participating and my oldest eagerly awaiting his turn. They both worked diligently to match the the dance moves showing on the screen, whether they were “officially” playing the game or not. There was great concentration, but also a wonderful joy. I couldn’t help getting caught up in their enthusiasm.

As I’ve aged, I’ve been bracing myself for the day I’ll become uncool to my kids. Watching them do Wii Dance I realized that moment was approaching faster than I’d like. The moves on the screen seemed more modern than what I remember growing up, and the fact that I just used the word “modern” to describe dance moves makes me feel even more old. I was tempted to join in with my boys and give Wii Dance a try, but resisted the urge, because I’m determined not to embarrass my children in public, at least not intentionally.

Once the Wii Dance party ended, we headed for home and found ourselves later that evening watching a movie. The movie had a soundtrack with several dance-able songs. I took that opportunity to get my groove on (and yes, the fact that I just used that phrase seems to be cementing that I just can’t help but embrace I am of a certain age). Instead of dancing by myself, I invited the kids to join me. They thought it was a blast. We laughed, we spun, we dipped and really enjoyed ourselves. We decided that we have a lot of fun when ‘we dance’.

I might not ever get to do Wii Dance in public, but I’ll take a private dance party with my guys any day.

How do you show your fun side to your child?