Dance and Social Development in Preschool Children

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Most children love to dance; you may find your preschooler naturally hops, sways or wiggles to his or her favorite music. Dancing is a great way to interact with your child and encourage gross motor skill development and improve social skills. Whether you are enrolling your child in a formal dance class or just jumping and jiving at home, dance is a fun and healthy activity the whole family can enjoy.

Social Interaction

  • The National Dance Education Organization says that engaging in dance helps your little one learn to communicate ideas through movement while encouraging social interaction and cooperation with others. A formal dance class exposes a young dancer to the group dynamic, and helps her learn about herself by navigating the environment with others. A dance class can help preschoolers learn to take simple directions and respect those around them.

Playing Copycat

  • Preschoolers learn through watching others, and a fun game of copycat not only encourages learning new movements, but also facilitates social learning skills through observation and mimicking. Experiment with different actions and enjoy watching your child as he mirrors your every movement. Try walking like different animals and moving to different types of music and tempos.

Creative Expression

  • A preschooler is not always able to communicate her emotions due to a lack of vocabulary and immature social skills. Creative activities -- such as dance -- afford your child a healthy outlet for unspoken emotions such as anger, sadness or even happiness. Dancing is, therefore, not only a good way for your child to channel her physical energy -- and burn off some of that preschooler energy -- it is an excellent way to work her emotions.

Foster Friendships

  • Dancing classes are available to any age group and are a great way for your preschooler to meet friends. Dancing fosters self-esteem in a child as he slowly learns to master new skills and improve his self-confidence and ability to socialize with his peers. Additionally, because the activity of dancing does not require immediate one-on-one socialization, it is an excellent activity to help a shy kiddo overcome social anxiety, as he gradually acclimates to the class.

References

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