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Texasdancemomx2

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My newly 9 year old DD seems to be getting more serious about dance. She's suddenly paying more attention to the other girls and has expressed wanting to be really good.

I work full time, so I rarely see her in the studio. But summer drop in classes are later and tonight I realized she's barely stretching. I'm not sure she gets the concept and she says it hurts. (She has some mild sensory issues so I'm not sure I'd she can differentiate between the "good" feeling of leaning into a stretch and the "bad" feeling if over doing it.

We're up to four hours a week in the studio, and she's doing well. But if we're going to continue, I need to persuade her to do the basics on conditioning.

advice?
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dancemonkey

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Reply with quote  #2 
They should be teaching her how to safely stretch at the studio.
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joriebelle

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My advice is let her teachers take care of it.  They'll make sure she does what she needs to do.  [smile]
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rdsmom

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Reply with quote  #4 
Advice?  It's the teacher's job to teach her stretching. If she has a teacher she connects well with, it might be worth a private lesson that is targeted toward supporting her sensory processing issues. The teacher could slowly help her learn to identify what sensations to look for in stretching. 
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Texasdancemomx2

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dancemonkey
They should be teaching her how to safely stretch at the studio.


The teacher today was doing a great job. My kid just wasn't really doing it. The others were holding their legs and DD was just kind of drifting. She's one of those kids who needs to understand why something is necessary for it to register. If it's not an actual dance move, it's hard for her to pick up by demonstration.

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Ann121

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Reply with quote  #6 
Try stretching with your daughter at home sometime. I did it with my 6 year old daughter once and now she begs me to do them with her all the time. I let her lead me through all of her dance stretches like she's teaching me.
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melissa745

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texasdancemomx2


The teacher today was doing a great job. My kid just wasn't really doing it. The others were holding their legs and DD was just kind of drifting. She's one of those kids who needs to understand why something is necessary for it to register. If it's not an actual dance move, it's hard for her to pick up by demonstration.



The teachers should be doing this - should be explaining what the stretches are for and how to do them correctly.

Your DD is 9 and dancing 4 hours a week. Give it time.
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FlaPoloDanceMom

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What has worked for my daughter is stretching on the floor at home while watching TV, using the iPad, or reading a book.  I tell her to open her legs in a strattle and it has gotten a little wider each month.  She has a full strattle and split on both sides.  She is very close built and not so flexible like my older daughter so it really was like pulling teeth at first.  Now it is so comfortable she doesn't even realize she is doing it.
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dancermom128

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Reply with quote  #9 
My DD stretches daily. She's 16. I never told her to stretch, it was something she started on her own a couple of years ago. Your daughter is 9. If she doesn't want to stretch she doesn't have to. I promise it will not make a difference in the long term. Let her teachers stretch with her in class. Don't push this for a child who clearly isn't interested.
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heartmom

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Reply with quote  #10 
I had started to type out a pretty long reply, but then reread your original message again and not sure what I was going to suggest would help if she isn't seeming like she's trying or wanting to stretch. We went through about a month of having to really, physically help my DD stretch at home, about 3rd grade age. It took awhile for her to get the concept of "relaxing into a stretch". However, she never lacked motivation to stretch, nor ever appeared to not be trying (rather she was really trying too hard. Her teacher noted she was always tensing up a lot when trying to stretch, like she was trying too hard and then getting frustrated.) She was taking summer privates, trying to catch up because she had decided she wanted to move up to the regular comp team. Her teacher was VERY blunt with her. She basically said unless you can get your splits, your leaps and kicks will never be good enough to make the Comp Team. And DD REALLY wanted to make the team, so to her it was pretty black and white. She was very motivated to stretch from that. And I think in a single summer, she went from literally you could drive a truck under her while she's trying to do a "split" to being flat on the right and left. 

I will say in privates, they spent a lot of time stretching. Probably at least half of a 30 minute private. If your DD is not picking it up in class, would a private(s) focused on stretching help? What are her goals? Is there something she really wants to achieve at dance? If not, I don't know that she will see value in extra stretching?

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heidi459

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dancermom128
My DD stretches daily. She's 16. I never told her to stretch, it was something she started on her own a couple of years ago. Your daughter is 9. If she doesn't want to stretch she doesn't have to. I promise it will not make a difference in the long term. Let her teachers stretch with her in class. Don't push this for a child who clearly isn't interested.


Wash, rinse and repeat.

My dd is 16 as well and stretching is part of her regular routine.  But at 9?  No.  Not even at 10, 11, or 12.  Your daughter should be getting what she needs in this department at the dance studio.  And if she's not?  It's not time to institute a home stretching and conditioning program... it's time to look for a new studio.     
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joriebelle

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Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459




My dd is 16 as well and stretching is part of her regular routine.  But at 9?  No.  Not even at 10, 11, or 12.  Your daughter should be getting what she needs in this department at the dance studio.  And if she's not?  It's not time to institute a home stretching and conditioning program... it's time to look for a new studio.     


Yep
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ChelleB70

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I agree that the studio needs to be taking care of this.  Esp at your dd's age.  I do understand the need for extra stretch time as well considering my dd is in no way, shape or form naturally flexible.  Her teacher and another dancer wrote up a stretch "routine" for her to do on her off days and my rule was that she had to do her stretching before she turned a screen on. She didn't do it every off day but it was best to not let a couple days go w/o stretching.  She's at the studio 3 days/wk now and at a performing arts magnet school where she majors in dance so she's stretching nearly every week day.  Next yr she may or not be at the PA high school but will be at the studio 4 days/wk.  If she doesn't attend the PA I'll encourage her to stretch on Sat as well.  She tends to lose flexibility very easily. 

At your dd's age it's not as big of a concern tho.  I'd keep it at the studio for now.
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jazzminesun81

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by melissa745
The teachers should be doing this - should be explaining what the stretches are for and how to do them correctly. Your DD is 9 and dancing 4 hours a week. Give it time.


Agreed. I would be more worried that the teacher is allowing her to do this. DD8's DT's go around the room and adjust limbs, push down gently, etc, for each kid. They spend a lot of class time stretching because they believe it prevents injury and it helps them warm up.

Also echoing other sentiment, I wouldn't worry so much about stretching at home unless it's something her teacher has assigned. I know some of DD8's teachers have stretching logs that have to be signed by parents the same way schools have reading logs. But if that's not the case, I totally wouldn't worry about it. If you are concerned, show her a picture of a full battement vs one where the dancer couldn't get their leg all the way up or some other move requiring some flexibility. It helps if they can see the difference.
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ggsmith

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Reply with quote  #15 
Interesting and informative article by the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science.  I take away the following:
1.  Stretching should only be done after a warm up.  Stretching and warm up are not the same thing.  
2.  Holding stretches for more than 30 seconds can increase the likelihood of injury. 
3.  Dynamic stretches that mimic dance movements help prepare the body for class. 
4.  Static stretches are best done at the end of or after a class  because stretching can cause a short term loss in strength and endurance of up to an hour.

http://www.iadms.org/?353

I agree with a lot of the other posters.  Proper stretching should be addressed in class.  If the teacher feels a dancer needs additional stretching outside of class, and the dancer is interested in doing exercises in class, there should be explicit directions for the dancer.  DD is 12 going on 13.  Sometimes she is diligent about stretching and doing foot exercises outside of class and sometimes she is not.  I am diligent about reminding her to stretch only after she is warm.  Cool muscles are more likely to snap or tear.  She was probably around 11 when I started to see actual exercises outside of class instead of just dancing. 
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Texasdancemomx2

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Reply with quote  #16 
As I said earlier, she does have some sensory issues so it is very hard to tell what is in the normal range. She had a pretty bad injury over the winter (not dance related) and it's clear that she has trouble distinguishing between pain and slight discomfort. We wound up doing double the OT because she wouldn't move the stiff arm at all.

From what I saw in the studio, she moves out of the stretch rather than completes it. It's not lack of desire and she's grouped by age, so her reaction does not seem typical.

I like the privates idea..I think she just needs more explicit instruction than most kids
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dancemonkey

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Reply with quote  #17 
There's lots of time she's young!
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elastigal

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Reply with quote  #18 
I have signed my DD7 up for privates at her studio this summer for conditioning. She has no idea what she needs to do so she will be spending the class with a favourite teacher learning how to do things safely. She is crazy active but not naturally flexible. The purpose of the privates is so she can learn one on one, she will get more out of it and focus - my DD can be pretty unfocused in larger groups. She will also be taking a mandatory acro class this upcoming season with this same teacher. Her goal is to get her splits but she has no idea how to go about getting them safely and neither do I so I know the privates will help.
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Sidhe14

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texasdancemomx2
As I said earlier, she does have some sensory issues so it is very hard to tell what is in the normal range. She had a pretty bad injury over the winter (not dance related) and it's clear that she has trouble distinguishing between pain and slight discomfort. We wound up doing double the OT because she wouldn't move the stiff arm at all.

From what I saw in the studio, she moves out of the stretch rather than completes it. It's not lack of desire and she's grouped by age, so her reaction does not seem typical.

I like the privates idea..I think she just needs more explicit instruction than most kids[/QUOTE

Given the fact that your child has a sensory issue, I would take it slower than most. As others have mentioned it is something that should be worked on in class. DD8 rarely stretches at home, but this year her classes have increased so the time she spends stretching in class has increased. She has improved so much in just this year and almost has 1/3 splits. I would encourage your DD to do her best when stretching in class and she will get it, even though it may take longer than others. When she is older, if it is still an issue, maybe consider some privates with a DT familiar with her issue to work on stretching.

If she moves out of her stretch rather than complete it and she is motivated, is it because she is experiencing pain or extreme discomfort? If she is, I would let her progress naturally in class. Just encourage her to continue working toward her goals in class and practicing at home what she feels up to doing.

DS 5 has high sensitivity. Sometimes it is a struggle just to get him dressed in the morning because his clothes don't feel right. Ok, most days it is a struggle! For him, it is a great deal of agitation and he is 5.



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Texasdancemomx2

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidhe14
[/QUOTE Given the fact that your child has a sensory issue, I would take it slower than most. As others have mentioned it is something that should be worked on in class. DD8 rarely stretches at home, but this year her classes have increased so the time she spends stretching in class has increased. She has improved so much in just this year and almost has 1/3 splits. I would encourage your DD to do her best when stretching in class and she will get it, even though it may take longer than others. When she is older, if it is still an issue, maybe consider some privates with a DT familiar with her issue to work on stretching. If she moves out of her stretch rather than complete it and she is motivated, is it because she is experiencing pain or extreme discomfort? If she is, I would let her progress naturally in class. Just encourage her to continue working toward her goals in class and practicing at home what she feels up to doing. DS 5 has high sensitivity. Sometimes it is a struggle just to get him dressed in the morning because his clothes don't feel right. Ok, most days it is a struggle! For him, it is a great deal of agitation and he is 5.


This. She says it hurts. But for her that's an extremely broad category. Any unusual sensation she puts in the category of "pain." Her teacher is super patient and has repeatedly put her back in the positions. I was never a dancer, but played sports so I know the value, but I've never done more than a few yoga poses with her.

Mostly I'm looking for constructive ways to desensitize her to the feeling of stretching so it moves to the "normal"category. It's hard because she is clearly starting to notice the girls with superflexible bodies and great technique and wants to get there. This may be a road block for her for a while.

Most of her issues have receded into the background. Our last big issue was tights, which she will now wear without complaint as long as they are Capezios.

We'll get there...
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #21 
DS is also high functioning ASD and has Dabrowskis syndrome.  We had tons of sensory issues with loud noises, clothes and foods but he never had issues with pain.  If anything he ignores pain to a detriment.  He has had a lot of health issues that kind of make feeling "not right" a normal occurrence for him.  I agree that you should be letting the DT work with her.  She is young and may figure out the different kinds of discomfort in time.
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Texasdancemomx2

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UPDATE: I had a great conversation by chance with one of the competition instructors (who also taught DD jazz last year). I mentioned the sensory issues and as it turns out she has a brother with similar issues. She understood immediately and was glad that I mentioned it. Feeling much better about it.

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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #23 
That's great news!  Looks like your DD has a teacher that can really help her!
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DanceTumbleCheerMom

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Reply with quote  #24 
We have a great book on stretching that has Dance, Gymnastics, and other stretches for different sports.   Both my girls became diligent stretchers at their old Studio/Gym because of the tumbling that SO incorporated into most of the classes, and they have kept it up since the move.   I dont have to remind DD11 or DD13 to stretch, its part of their daily routine. 

That said.  They were both taught the following because SO was not only a dance teacher, but a USAG Certified Tumbling and Trampoline Coach, as well as certified as Cheer Coach by USFSA and this is all stuff taught to the coaches.  

1.  Stretching should only be done after a warm up.  Stretching and warm up are not the same thing.  
2.  Holding stretches for more than 30 seconds can increase the likelihood of injury. 
3.  Dynamic stretches that mimic dance movements help prepare the body for class. 
4.  Static stretches are best done at the end of or after a class  because stretching can cause a short term loss in strength and endurance of up to an hour.

That said, I agree that at her age, it should be done in studio so its taught correctly and watched.  Stretching incorrectly can cause serious injury. 
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