One of the biggest personal perks when Alessandra began dancing was getting to know other parents. It’s hard to make friends as an adult, but having something special in common made it easier to connect.
Dance parents have a special opportunity to bond when we’re traveling for a weekend competition. Between make-up, hair, getting dressed, and keeping the girls in line backstage, we exchange exasperated smiles and glances as we share the stress.
The “Introduction to Parent Bonding” starts with a text chain. I highly recommend setting up a group in advance! Trust me — there’s so many last-minute questions to be answered and you may all be spread out among the crevices of a convention center that text communication is vital on competition day.
One thing newbies may not know is that the dance competition schedule CAN and WILL change at a moment’s notice. Timing delays occur often, and sometimes a whole group may be shifted to a different time slot due to an unforeseen issue with another team. The organizers do a great job of communicating these changes, but then it’s up to us parents and teachers to get the word out to everyone else.
Step by Step Guide to Setting Up a Group Text
First of all, determine which platform to utilize. Some parents don’t want to give out their cell phone numbers, and that’s ok! While it may be easier to use the text function, there are some apps that are really useful as well. GroupMe and TeamSnap are two apps that function like texting, with so many other features, too. You can set up calendar alerts for rehearsals and competition days, and even include a packing list to make it easier for first-timers to gather everything they’ll need.
Next, designate a point person. Since I am an ultra-organizer, I love taking on this role! It starts with asking the teacher for access to the parents’ phone numbers or email addresses. I make first contact with them, and let them know which text platform we’ll be using. Then, I make sure to update the group as needed and ensure that everyone receives regular communication.
Aside from time changes, there are always a million questions to be answered, no matter how prepared you may be, someone is bound to forget something! “Are we wearing the black leotards or pink today?” “Should her hair be in a bun or half-up?” Knowing that one of the other parents will get back to you within seconds is so comforting and eliminates any costume mishaps.
Since we dance as a team, us parents make a point to play as a team as well. Texting keeps us informed of when and where our group dinner will be, or if we’re going to let the girls swim before or after Bollywood class. Staying in touch also gives us the opportunity to join together: “Movie night in our room!” leads to “I’ll bring snacks!” and “I’ll bring the juice boxes!”
Being a dance parent is a team effort; no one is ever left out and we’re all leaning on each other to make the experience as beneficial as possible for our little dancers.