Time Management for Dance Mums
What with possible weekly tennis classes, extra Maths, Band practise, netball, swimming and tutoring TIMES two, three or four children, a Full Time job, and a household to run Mums are truly the Time Management Queens of the Century.
I do not envy them in the slightest as extra curricular activities become the norm and academic schools become increasingly demanding. The role of chauffeur seems to be a part of this incredible feat in getting everyone everywhere on time. A feat that Mums cheerfully have to undertake five times a week. Presumably collapsing on a Saturday AFTER Soccer - I hope!
It is regrettable that dance classes bring with them more preparation than most extra curricular activities. Not only must the child be on time, as who wants the horror of entering the studio when the music has started and everyone has found a place at the barre but also have changed into their dance uniform of perhaps pink tights/socks, leotard, dance skirt and ballet shoes AND have their character skirt and character shoes with them in their dance bag BUT also have their hair in a neat bun and have visited the bathroom and prepared a water bottle. A Maths tutorial is definitely going to be easier organisationally but a darn sight less enjoyable.
Acknowledging all the preparation needed BEFORE class ( at least 15 minutes) as well as the joys for your child of arriving a tad early to greet friends and warm up is crucial to good time management and I believe is the biggest stumbling block for many Mums who perhaps never went to dance or ballet school themselves.
With a lot of classes straight after the end of school it is a great idea to get your child’s hair done in the morning. A good bun looks neat and professional for academic school too and will last a whole day if done properly. It needs less than 3 minutes once you have the hang of it. A quick hair spray or gel when you pick them up and the hardest bit is done.
Getting out of school car parks is another issue and many parents tell me they have had to find different places to park, picked their child up five minutes earlier or simply bagged the best car space by getting there 10 minutes early and using the time for social media, studying, simply relaxing or even meditating. Knowing where Mum is and that TODAY is dance class is imperative for your child so having their hair done in the morning can be a great reminder all day to get out to the car park ASAP.
I was the absolute star of changing into dance clothes during a car journey and my Mum had a TINY Mini but this would have been better done in the last break before school ended. Getting changed at the studio often means waiting for a free bathroom. Some students wear their dance uniform under their academic uniform when pressed for time. If possible however always leave 10 minutes for changing at the studio or at school before dance class. A Dance Bag is the way to go and having this packed for class(es) the night before is going to make a big difference. Put it in the car in the evening or in the morning on the way to school in case it gets forgotten later.
For classes scheduled later in the afternoon managing how much time is needed is important before starting homework or even eating a big meal. Many kids get changed and ready for dance after school and then do other things until it is time to leave. For younger children there is often a problem if they get into an intriguing game with friends or a TV show and are then asked to leave for class, try and plan some down time before leaving for class to avoid issues.
If you have to drop a child early or pick up later so that other siblings get to their designated hobbies on time please ask the dance teacher for assistance and most teachers and studios will try and help out by letting your child stay longer and watch other classes whilst waiting for you, don’t expect a free Child Minding service though and show your appreciation.
Finally, if you are experiencing real problems then consider changing your class times to a different day when there is less stress and more time to prepare your child for a wonderful class free of pre-class stress.