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Mamala

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Reply with quote  #1 
I think I asked a variation of this question before, but I'm curious what is normal for a 9 year old in regards to doing any kind of dance work at home or in between classes? So, this means stretching, practicing routines, working on skills, even doing a turn in the mirror here or there? My DD is on a competition team, I've heard her teammates say that they work on skills at home, practice routines, or they just stretch before bed. My DD refuses to do a single thing outside of class. Her director even asks that they practice something at home and she wont. Her teacher commented that since last year she's lost some of her flexibility, but trying to get her to do a single stretch at home is like pulling teeth. I concluded to myself that maybe she's just not that into dance, and it costs waaaay to much money for her to just go there to socialize with her friends. I asked her if she wants to quit next year and try something else instead of dance. She went nuts! She said she loves dance and does not want to stop. It just seems like she doesnt care about getting better. The sad part is that she has a lot of natural talent, and she could really be amazing if she applied herself. She's one of the best on her team, but she lacks in certain areas, and those areas she will not work on. She often has that same lazy attitude in class too. There's times where I'll catch a glimpse when I come to pick her up and she is kind of going through the motions without trying very hard. I dont get it. I feel that if we're spending all this money and time driving to classes that she should care more about putting in some effort. This is kind of her personality in general. She likes to put in the least amount of effort possible and can get lazy. So, I'm asking is this normal for those of you that have kids around her age? Do most of them work on anything at home? If not, then does anyone have any ideas as to how I can motivate her more to do something? It seems the more I ask her to do it the more she refuses and gets annoyed with me. It doesnt help for me not to ask though. I tried that. 
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5678momma

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Reply with quote  #2 
You just described my daughter perfectly. Same age, same struggle.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #3 
I think this is very normal. I also understand your frustration with paying in money and time for lack of perceived effort. I would focus on encouraging her to work hard during class and worry less about what she does at home. Sometimes when they are among the top in their class they don't feel the need to try harder because they are already better than the others. Perhaps should could attend a class or two with more advanced dancers to kick start her motivation?
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heidih

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Reply with quote  #4 
I have an 8 year old that is the same way.  She will do tons of handstands and backbends but no stretching.  It drives me nuts.
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Jacaranda

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Reply with quote  #5 
This sounds like a great opportunity for a life lesson.

I have a rule that my kids MUST practice at home. I was a dancer growing up and when I did not practice it would be hard to remember routines, the teachers would have to re go over work and choreography. When I did practice I could enjoy class more, because I knew what I was doing and I wasn't holding up the class, while the teach retaught things.

My kids know that the condition for me to continue to pay for dance and and drive them to dance is that they make the com it ent and dedication to practice. It doesn't have to be a lot, but it has to be a little after each dance day so they can remember the work they did in that class.

The idea that she absolutely refuses to practice but also insists she should be allowed to continue would not sit well with me. It's like a child insisting she shoudl be allowed to eat all her meals, have clean clothes, get an allowance etc but absolutely refusing to help with any household chores, I am sure you would not allow that.

I think the effort in class thing is a whole different story through, Many kids, even at 9 don't actually understand the concept of physical effort. They may have the muscles to pick up a heavy object, but can't do it because they don't understand how to engage those muscles.
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #6 
One of DS teachers once told me that some kids (no matter how talented) just don't seem to click with the concept that putting in effort makes a huge difference until they are 12-14 years old.  DS started out strong and right around 10 years old started slacking off.  He realized within a couple of years that the other dancers were passing him by and he wasn't getting picked for certain routines because of it.  He smartened up then and gave it his all and ended up being the strongest tapper at the studio and one of the strongest ballet dancers.
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NCKDAD

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Reply with quote  #7 
Remind me again how often she dances and the amount of numbers she competes?

DD8 is similar. She is hit or miss with class effort or not. She doesn't enjoy practicing at home but she will review everything (4-5 dances) on the weekends. It's not really an option- it's how things operate in our house. It's an expectation so that when you have that time to run it you know it well enough for more valuable feedback. She doesn't stretch at home.

We do play a game called "double turn now"- lol- where we just say that and whatever she's doing she stops immediately and does a double turn. It's bc she was thinking and spending too much time prepping for her turns and they were getting worse so when we realized the problem this became the game. One competition down and perfectly executed doubles across the board!

We have to keep it light and fun for her. But she's very competitive so she wants to do well so her effort and focus increase competition season- lol.
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nodrama15

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Reply with quote  #8 
My son (not a dancer) - an athlete has this issue.  He was an early bloomer.....very good athlete at a young age...but most kids have caught up to him and he rarely puts in maximum effort.  Honestly, I feel like he's still riding the "I was the best at age 6 so I still am" train....I try to explain that natural talent only takes you so far, and that the kids that are constantly putting forth max effort are over taking him...he doesn't get it, but he will.  And all we can hope is that he realizes that it is in his hands.
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LilMama

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Reply with quote  #9 
DD8 was like that until I moved her to a more serious studio this year. It kind of leave her no choice but to practice and stretch at home when she clearly see that she no longer is the best in her class.
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changole

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Reply with quote  #10 
Another option may be to put her in something complimentary, like a yoga class for kids, that will work on core strengthening for and flexibility. While she won't be practicing dance, it will be fine tuning her body for dance. My daughter, who will be 10 soon, never practiced until towards the end of the last dance season. I would suggest it, especially if she seemed especially bored at home. But she would shrug practicing off, in spite of practicing for other things and loving dance.

But then she would start choreographing while listening to music and working on moves and technique that way, and now she does practice bits and pieces of studio routines. It's sort of clicked that doing that helps her be on top of class more.
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disneymom2two

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Reply with quote  #11 
My daughter's 11 and been on team since she was 9.  She practices her competition routines when it gets within a couple of months of competition season; the receptionist sends us videos from class that have the teacher's counts and corrections to use.  Whenever she sees an open space or aisle, she practices leaps and turns.  She does some stretching but it isn't consistent unless she wants to do tricks and needs to stretch first.
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JulieDB

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Reply with quote  #12 
Mine didn't want to do much at home at that age. Mainly she would do stuff closer to recital, putting her music on and going through some steps. She wasn't on team. She would do stuff while we were shopping though. Perhaps because our house is so small, there wasn't much room here to do things.
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SlackerMom

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Reply with quote  #13 
We had this situation with one kid and music. She loved playing her instrument in private lessons, but hardly ever practiced at home. After trying for a year to motivate her, we cancelled the lessons. She moved on to another interest.

As far as dance goes, My dancer is 12. She has always been one of those who works hard at home as well as in class. There are other girls who have been with her for years but don't put the time in that she does. It really shows now. The dancers who consistently practice and stretch are the ones who place and get judge's awards at comps. The girls who don't dance at home and don't sign up for studio time to run their solos are solid ensemble members but are not improving at the same rate.
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EJIDance

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Reply with quote  #14 
My kids do both dance and piano. They are 6 and 9. They are required to practice daily for the piano if they want to continue but i don't make them practice dance unless they are struggling with choreography and need to catch up. Piano class is only twice a week for an hour but they are at the studio so much already (6-7 hours a week, not much for some but plenty for them)...
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oatmella

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EJIDance
My kids do both dance and piano. They are 6 and 9. They are required to practice daily for the piano if they want to continue but i don't make them practice dance unless they are struggling with choreography and need to catch up. Piano class is only twice a week for an hour but they are at the studio so much already (6-7 hours a week, not much for some but plenty for them)...


Home practice is required for piano - dd's piano teacher expects her to practice an hour a day. Do your kids take 2 private piano lessons a week each? That is considered a lot for piano - most kids only have private lessons once a week. But I don't think piano and dance can be compared in how much home practice is required. If you don't practice piano at home, little to no progress can be made.
Most or all of dance practice takes place at the studio. For dd, I think she is expected to stretch at home. But it is not really practical or safe to run through a pointe variation at home, for example.
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EJIDance

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Reply with quote  #16 
oatmella, piano is twice a week each. The expectation is once a week, but we homeschool so they have the time for it.
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dancedaughters

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Reply with quote  #17 
Don't push.  At some point she may want to work on things outside of class.  Or she may express some disappointment with how she's progressing and be open to advice.  Otherwise, let it go.  It's her activity - it's up to her how hard she works at it.

I feel strongly that kids should not be expected to be the absolute best they can be at everything they do.  There is nothing wrong with doing something just because you enjoy it.  Growing up, I played in the school band and orchestra.  I was not that good at it and I did not practice much.  But I really enjoyed the rehearsals and the performances.  In addition to the fun I had doing it and the friends I made, I gained a deeper understanding of and appreciation for music than I would have had otherwise.  That seems like a pretty good outcome to me.

If your child is in a good situation at her studio, then she's having fun, getting exercise, exploring an art form, and participating in teamwork and collaboration.  That all seems great. 

I get wanting to help her see the path to improving, but there is a risk that you could send the message that if she's not all in and working to be the best, she shouldn't be doing it at all.  


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Dancingemu

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Reply with quote  #18 
It's that age. We talked to the pediatrician about the stretching and that made my girl motivated for a little while to stretch, but now we're back to fighting it. My requirement is 30mins a day (which is not enough imo). That includes practicing her dances, stretching, or tricks. There are many days though that she sneaks out to the evening's activities without any practicing.

What does get her to practice is doing with a friend or when I'm stretching or dancing with her. At least my girl, has a hard time staying on task for that long even with music on.
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Dancingemu

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacaranda
This sounds like a great opportunity for a life lesson.

I have a rule that my kids MUST practice at home. I was a dancer growing up and when I did not practice it would be hard to remember routines, the teachers would have to re go over work and choreography. When I did practice I could enjoy class more, because I knew what I was doing and I wasn't holding up the class, while the teach retaught things.

My kids know that the condition for me to continue to pay for dance and and drive them to dance is that they make the com it ent and dedication to practice. It doesn't have to be a lot, but it has to be a little after each dance day so they can remember the work they did in that class.

The idea that she absolutely refuses to practice but also insists she should be allowed to continue would not sit well with me. It's like a child insisting she shoudl be allowed to eat all her meals, have clean clothes, get an allowance etc but absolutely refusing to help with any household chores, I am sure you would not allow that.

I think the effort in class thing is a whole different story through, Many kids, even at 9 don't actually understand the concept of physical effort. They may have the muscles to pick up a heavy object, but can't do it because they don't understand how to engage those muscles.


I can't speak for the OP, but we know many parents who would let their children do as they please, have no chores, and still get an allowance. I'm baffled by it, but it seems to be happening more and more. My kids don't get an allowance because they don't do their chores without me having to tell them to multiple times.
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