As with most aspects of parenting, being a dance mom or dad requires a delicate balance of involvement and freedom as your child navigates the competitive dance world. Do’s 1) Communicate with your child as they attend classes each week. Make sure they know you care about their passion. Ask what their goals are, as well as their strengths. 2) Show up to support your child. It means the world to your child to see you attending competitions and hear you cheering from the audience. 3) Support their decisions. Allow them to follow their passions when it comes to style and preference for training. If they’d like to explore a new style of dance, go for it! If they’d like to practice more often, encourage it! 4) Tell them how proud you are. It’s so important for your child to feel that you are in their corner, acknowledging their success. Don’ts 1) Over-do it. Encourage a healthy amount of practice but be careful that you are not forcing your child. Dance should be enjoyable and your child should be internally motivated to improve. 2) Compare your dancer to others, especially teammates. While the nature of dance can be competitive, dancers and their parents must work to keep the competition healthy. Look to other dancers as a source of inspiration, not as dancers that you must be better than. 3) Hover too much. It’s important to let your dancer practice on his or her own sometimes, and let them explore their movement without being watched. This helps dancers learn to let go and perform at their fullest potential. It also allows dancers to develop independent study habits. 4) Criticize them after a performance. When your dancer has just performed it’s important to remain positive and supportive, even if something unexpected happened. Leave the critiques for your child’s instructor as well as the judges from the competition. Remember you are your dancer’s best cheerleader!