Toddlers Dance as if No One Is Watching

DancingGetting me onto the dance floor requires either a six pack, a bribe of consequence or wedding bells–specifically my own.

I’m guessing I’m not the only father in this category. For every dad who can successfully cut a rug there’s a dozen who feel mortified at the thought of dancing in public. It’s why I take such pride in watching my sons dance the night away.

My boys jump at any occasion to start a dance party. They danced in front of a live band at a Hawaiin restaurant, did the same during a sunset cruise and, most recently, heradled the belated start of summer with a Journey dance jam.

Hey, gotta introduce them to the classics, right?

It’s already clear my boys inherited my lack of rhythm. Their dance moves are clumsy, as if the music was entering one ear and exiting the other without incident. They don’t care. When you’re four and two, you dance without any sense of how the world sees you. And what a wonderful thing that must be.

It won’t last forever, of course. At some point my sons will become self-conscious and they’ll hesitate before stepping onto the dance floor. With luck, a healthy sense of self or an encouraging gal pal will help them keep on dancing.

Or, if they’re like me, they’ll find themselves at their Junior Prom scared to death at the thought of twirling their date around a few times.

I’m afraid a father has limited resources to help a child in this arena. I could suggest dance lessons down the road, but my guess is a pre-teen would rather do almost anything than count their steps alongside total strangers.

Am I doomed to watch my sons transform into the hesitant dancer I became? I’d like any suggestions from fathers of older children. Perhaps they’ve successfully navigated this cultural question. Frankly, I’ve yet to read about it in parenting books. I’d like to be ready when my sons start dancing and suddenly stop mid-sway as they realize people could be watching – and judging – every step they take.


  1. JMK says

    It’s a pleasure watching my toddler’s pure pleasure in her full-body approximation of a beat. She knows it, she feels it. Is it dancing? or maybe an outsized, anarchistic response of self-discovery? Can’t imagine trying to discipline that into learning specific moves. Don’t think I want to.

  2. Christian says

    Yeah, the freedom of movement is something you don’t want to inhibit.

    When I watch adults dance I give points to dudes who just let it loose — even if they look a bit like Elaine on “Seinfeld.”

    ‘A’ for effort — that’s how you score dancing in my opinion.

  3. Brenda says

    I think Uncle Chuck must have given E some dance lessons on our visit. B must have picked up the drink while swaying from me:)

  4. rebecca says

    Holy cow, I have decided that watching sweet toddler dance videos is my new favorite way to start my day. I loved that 🙂 thanks – sweet moves – go Eli!!

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