More than December, to me this is the most wonderful time of the year. I LOVE dance recitals. I love the costumes, tights, and lights. I love hair and make-up. I love watching to see which three year old is going to run off-stage, which one is going to twirl in her tutu the whole time because she just can’t help it, and which one might pee her pants. I love watching the kids who are awkward but learning and trying their best to overcome stage fright. Most of all, I love watching my daughter do what she loves.
I have been parenting through this dance recital thing for 16 years now, since my older daughter was two. At this time of year, most moms are a tad bit stressed. It would be easy to get into brawls over little things like the best auditorium seats, but I’m urging you to HIDE YOUR CRAZY. It could get ugly out there, but let’s play nice.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior” (Ephesians 4:31, NLT).
I’d like to share with you some practical tips on what to do and what not to do at recital time.
- ALWAYS go potty before you put tights on!!!
- Read all the information your studio and teachers give you about the details. Follow audience etiquette, as prescribed by your studio. (Climbing over people in the dark while they’re trying to watch their kids is dangerous!)
- Follow directions about when to be where and how to cover up costumes.
- You are NOT the exception to the rules. Sorry…you are not that special.
- Arrive extra early if you are allowed to save seats. We use a Vera Bradley blanket so I can go help with last-minute details and come back.
I know your three-year-old is precious, but don’t save 25 seats for every aunt, cousin, and friend you have. Don’t save any more than that Vera Bradley blanket will cover. Use that as your guide. Let’s be reasonable. Grandpa can’t see and can’t hear anyway. He can watch the video later.
- Buy the professional video offered by the studio. Don’t try to take your own during the recital. It’s just rude.
- Be intentional about flowers and gifts. If you’re in this for the long haul, be careful not to set a precedent you’ll have to keep up. In our family, we decided against flowers. Instead, I bought my daughters a charm bracelet early on. I choose a charm that reminds us of their dance that year to add to the bracelet. It is a sweet way to mark the occasion, and it’s fun to go back and remember years past. It’s nice to get your teachers a gift. (See our dance teacher’s blog about gifts.) What your teachers really want is to be appreciated. Say thank you.
- A word about hair. Practice your styles ahead of time. You’re lucky you have YouTube, so use it. Somebody, somewhere has made a video instructing you on how to do a Half-Up-Half-Down-Bump-With Curls. Use a ton of products. When they’re little, sleeping in spongy rollers is fun, but it can be risky, so practice is key. Do NOT take your preschooler to the salon, please. What are you setting her up for? It’s not prom, for goodness sake.
- Think of recitals as an experience. How can you plan ahead of time to make things go smoothly? What encouraging words can you say to your kids to help them have fun? What are they learning through this? What do you want them to come away with?
- It’s not about you. Don’t take it so seriously that you get ugly with people in line or get grumpy when you can’t see your kid very well from your seat. A sense of humor is mandatory. Look for the good!
I hope you hide your crazy, have so much fun, and love on your kids through this exciting time. Enjoy it!
Never forget rule number One. Potty before tights!