I was speaking with one of the Early Childhood Education experts from First 5 of El Dorado County the other day (Kristen Torres, to be specific). She was telling me she gets asked all the times by busy parents “what is the ONE thing I can do for my children that will make the most difference?” Kristen’s response “Dance!”
While I am all for getting my “boogey” on, mostly in the kitchen these days, and grabbing whatever kid wanders by first to conscript in, I was a little surprised by her answer. Kristen went onto explain that “rhythm” is important for a number of developmental steps (at this point I was concerned for my best friend’s son…hope he inherits his mommy’s rhythm!).
Language is rhythmic, walking & running is rhythmic. By dancing with your children, you are helping to develop their rhythmic awareness in a fun & engaging way (all about play as learning!). There often happen to be other side benefits: bonding (see my “conscription” above), aerobic exercise, “crossing the midline”- left/right & top/bottom (important for connecting brain hemispheres), vestibular system development (inner ear- important for balance & sensory integration) from our fancy spinning, and if you sing along loudly like me, vocabulary development.*
*on that note, be a little careful of your musical choices. Like don’t accidentally download the ORIGINAL version of CeeLo’s “Forget You” like my husband did. Don’t want to develop that kind of vocabulary….
So, grab that kid, crank those tunes (but try not to blow out their developing ear drums…), and get your dance on! If your husband gives you funny looks when he comes in, pass him a kid and tell him it’s required curriculum: you’re making your kids smarter!