Thursday, April 20, 2017

3 Ways Dancing Builds Self-Confidence

Dancing is not just a great physical activity that can keep you in shape, but it can also have a lot of intangible benefits mentally and emotionally.

1) Learn to get over feeling awkward.
No one likes to feel awkward in public, but with dance, sometimes that’s just part of the territory. If you’re learning a new step, it might feel a bit weird at first, but once you learn it, it becomes second nature. Then it’s less weird and hard to learn a new step. This can translate into learning new things outside of the dance world.

2) Find a community to lean on.
Dancing can run a range of emotions from happiness and pride to frustration, but finding a group of people that can support you and that you feel like you belong with can really help to boost your self-confidence.

3) Build a strong body.
If you feel physically strong and capable, it’s much easier to feel capable in other situations. When you feel healthy, that will show itself in other areas of your life, leaving you to feeling more confident and assertive.

What have you learned from dance? Let us know in the comments.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

When Did the Easter Bunny Hop Onto the Scene?

When you hear the word ‘Easter’, it likely conjures images of bunnies, pastel-colored eggs, and lots of chocolate. Have you ever wondered why a rabbit brings children eggs for Easter? Why a rabbit and not a bird? It turns out that there’s a reason.

Where Did the Easter Bunny Come From?

It starts way back in the 1700’s, over 300 years ago in Germany. There they had a mythical creature called an ‘Osterhase. This is a rabbit that lays eggs!

German children would make nests for these rabbits to lay their eggs in. The colored eggs were a present for children that behaved well throughout the year (much like how Santa Claus gives presents to good boys and girls). When Germans immigrated to the United States, they likely brought this tradition with them. The tradition has changed, as traditions tend to, and now includes chocolates and other sweets and a basket instead of a nest. 

That’s why a bunny is in charge of bringing eggs and chocolates to all the children around the world for Easter. Now that you know you can appreciate what a neat tradition this is.

What is your favorite Easter tradition?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Why Do We Decorate Eggs on Easter?

For most people, Easter is synonymous with Easter eggs! Whether it’s decorating them or hunting them or both, it’s not hard to see why the Easter egg has become so wrapped up in Easter tradition.

What came first: Easter or the egg?

Easter eggs, actually!

For many people around the world, the egg has been a symbol of new life. For thousands of years in Iran, Iranians have decorated eggs on their New Year which falls on the spring equinox, which falls usually around a month before Easter. 

But for Christians and the Easter that we’re familiar with, the Easter egg has been a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For Eastern Catholic churches, it is quite common to see Easter eggs dyed a bright red to symbolize this. It was also common for Christians to abstain from eating eggs during Lent, so Easter was the first chance to eat eggs in weeks. Yum!

It’s all fun and games.

These fun decorated eggs are also used for games. You are probably familiar with the popular Easter egg hunts that are held around the country, but egg rolls also have a long history. The most famous egg roll actually happens on the White House lawn every Easter. 

What’s your favorite Easter tradition?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Why is it Important to Respect Our Elders?

Many children learn at an early that they must respect their elders. From listening to their stories, giving up your seat on the subway, or helping them cross the road, there are so many ways to show respect. But why is this concept such a commonly accepted one throughout most cultures around the globe?
There are many reasons why one should respect their elders. Generally, it’s practical to respect older people because we shall reap what we sow. Showing respect to others often means receiving respect in return. Hence, younger generation should learn this value as early as possible because in the future, they will be one of the elders, and the cycle of life will continue.
Another way to look at this is to acknowledge that older people have earned respect. With several years and decades that they’ve lived on earth, they have earned respect through their achievements. They have put in time as learning, working people and have picked up many a life lesson along the way. These life lessons bear repeating to future generations.
Life experience often leads to better decision making. Each generation goes through much struggle as the years pass, which ultimately leads to knowledge. No one is exempt from the trials and tribulations of life, and whether your troubles are about love, peers, family, friends, or other aspects of life, you can often receive great advice from elders. Their life experiences can be used to teach us how to avoid certain mistakes or situations, or simply, how to deal with inevitable problems.
Within the family, elders tend to serve as the foundation and cornerstone. They can serve as a friend, a philosopher, an advisor, and a life guide among other things. As they provide endless advice, we owe them much of our respect, as they have paved the way for us to have a better life. Our elders have successfully run the race of life, and we should be thankful that they are willing to share what they’ve experienced along the way. Acts of respect and kindness toward elders are ways of displaying appreciation of their achievements.

So don’t forget to spend some time with an elderly person! Get to know them, hear their words, and always show your respect.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Parent Involvement for Competitive Dancers

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.
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.
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!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Origins of Valentine’s Day

The earliest origins of Valentine’s Day are not completely clear. Some people believe it stretches all the way back to a festival held in ancient Rome, although there has been no definitive proof to say so. There are several martyrdom stories associated with this holiday that in modern times is used for celebrating love.

Valentine was a popular name for saints and there are a few connected to February 14th. One in particular is Saint Valentine of Rome, who was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers forbidden to marry. According to the legend, the saint healed the daughter of his jailer and before his execution wrote her a letter signed, “Your Valentine.”

Chaucer, the famous 14th century poet, was the first person to associate Valentine’s Day with romantic love. In his poem, “Parlement of Foules”, he wrote:

For this was seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
(“For this was on St. Valentine’s Day/when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”)

The custom of sending cards, flowers, chocolates, and other confectionaries originated in the UK, and there are still unique traditions across Europe. In many places, lovers offer keys as a romantic gesture symbolizing a way to “unlock the giver’s heart”. In Norfolk, a figure named Jack Valentine knocks on doors leaving sweets for children. In Slovenia, Saint Valentine is a saint of spring and good health.

Regardless of the holiday’s true origin, today it is a celebration of love and commitment, and is celebrated all over the world by hundreds of countries and cultures.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Why All Group Sports are Beneficial for Children

Getting your kids up and moving can be really tough especially in this era where modern electronic gadgets now magnetize kids to couches. One of the best ways to get your children up and moving is to add other children to the mix, and then sprinkle in some exercises with a dose of healthy competition among them. There are a handful of benefits to children participating in any group sport, including aspects that are emotional, physical, and social.
How exactly do group sports help?

Getting active together
Time and time again, research praises the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of exercise. When done in a group setting, children can learn from one another by observing, while at the same time developing social skills. If they are making friends through their group sports and activities, they will look forward to returning to practice the next time, in turn creating healthy and repetitive habits that they can use the rest of their lives. Healthy competition within group sports will also encourage children to continue working hard during physical exercise so that as they grow their skills do not plateau.

Group sports give children the opportunity to:
·       Deal with both winning and losing. They learn that there are things in life that are not going to go their team’s way all the time.
·       Be less selfish and think of other people around them.
·       Become even more sociable in different kinds of environments. They learn to deal with different types kids, who may or may not be their friends.
·       Overcome their shyness by putting them into a situation where they need to communicate with others.

Children learn about values through group sports
Playing group sports provides children with endless lessons. Along with learning social etiquette, children also learn that they must respect their playmates, sports officials, and referees. Sports can help teach lessons of honor, sacrifice, and pride as well.

When your kids play any group sport, they are more likely to develop:
·       Physical skills
·       Leadership skills
·       Camaraderie and friendship
·       Social interaction skills
·       Self-concept and self-esteem
·       Teamwork and cooperation skills
·       Sense of team membership or belonging
·       Persistence, patience, and self-discipline
·       Team goal-setting skills
·       Resilience by means of sharing both the negative and positive experiences

Group Sports Promote a healthier living

Even if you know that your kids are not going to be professional athletes, they will still receive countless benefits by participating in athletics. Learning to work with other kids and being part of something bigger are hard to emulate elsewhere. Also, being physically active often goes hand in hand with eating right, and maintaining good mental health.