Healthy Kids

Toddler Play: Benefits of Ballet Class


There are so many wonderful benefits to ballet other than having fun! It’s a great way to your child develop in many areas.

I swore up and down that I would not start Penelope in dance so young. I started dance class at the exact age she is now, and I thought it wasn’t the best idea. I was burnt out on dance by the time I got to high school and was distracted from my training with cheer leading and hanging out with friends. Although, I had lots of awesome memories of dance, some yucky body-image ones have stuck too.
But I guess there are some things you just can’t change and are bound to repeat- exactly the same way you were raised. And so, at 18 months dance classes began for Miss P. It’s a Mommy and Me class and I so look forward to it each week.

And she LOVES it! It was worth the mental anguish deciding whether to sign her up or not. I also really like the teacher, Miss Amanda, Founder of Community Ballet. She does yoga like stretches in the beginning and ends with story time, just like in a Tyke yoga class-she structures the class perfectly for their age.

Penelope is learning so much each week. Learning her right from her left side of her body, (which is one of the things that help with early reading), to wait for her turn, to listen to directions, etc. So even if she decides she doensn’t want to do dance class in a few years, what she is learning in these first early years will benefit her, her whole life. Body coordination, balance, rhythm, these are all things are going to help later in learning. It is a great way to get a child ready for preschool.

For more simple ideas on how to use play as a learning experience for your little one, check out this book I love. And check out my toddler yoga posts too! 

Update! I wrote this post originally when Penelope very first started ballet and now at almost 6, she still loves ballet! I met some of my best friends that very first class, every year our daughter’s taking dance together and us moms get to chat and gossip and brag about our kids and complain about our husbands while our daughters dance. I do not know what I would do without my group of dance mom friends! So P.S. signing your kid up for ballet is a great way for you to make friends! When we moved to Jupiter, same thing, my dance mom friends were my closest friends. You just gotta be brave that first class and strike up a conversation, don’t be shy. 🙂

And after Penelope was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder at age 3, it became something else to do other an OT to help her with her gross motor skills and help her tolerate listening to music better.

All in all, it was a really good decision. I will never force her to continue, but I am so glad I put her in so young. My recomendation would be to find a Mommy and Me class like we did our first year to help them feel safe and comfortable with the experience of ballet class.

Oh and if you are having trouble making the perfect ballet bun, check out this toddler sock bun tutorial I created. And if you are looking for ballet party ideas, check out Penelope’s Ballet themed 3rd birthday party!

Benefits of Ballet for Toddlers

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  • Lura
    September 15, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    I think that's awesome, Stephanie!! Such valuable information! I started dance at 3 and took several years. For many years I kept the posture, poise and so much more from those classes. My best friends mom always teased me that I was the most graceful girl doing hurdles at the track meets.

    I'm glad Penelope is enjoying herself!!

  • Krissy
    September 15, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    Your daughter is absolutely adorable in that picture! And I think if I had a little girl I would not be able to resist dance lessons or gymnastics myself! I did gymnastics and my sister did dance and we learned so much from it, I think it is great, you have to have balance in life and it sounds like you know a healthy dose of it so she won't burn out 🙂

  • Maureen
    September 15, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    Yeah for dance class 🙂 I started when I was 6, and loved it always and still do! Claire was 2 1/2 when she started ballet, and I think it was a little too much for her, and she has been begging to go back for a year now. P looks adorable 🙂

  • Anonymous
    November 30, 2011 at 3:47 AM

    My little girl is 15 months and I am so overwhelmed by coming up with activities! She loves coloring (although it's more about putting the crayons in and taking out of the box), painting, playdough, and reading. She also has little people toys, weebles, Lego blocks that she enjoys. I feel like I never stimulate her brain enough, though. Any suggestions? Thanks for the book recommendation. That is in my amazon cart! 🙂