Little dancer under pressure

My daughter is a little dancer. She is both naturally talented and a very hard worker. While she is feeling motivated to dance, I see no reason to stop her or hold her back, although I will never push her to do more than she wants to do.

She began slowly – with a street dance class that she started on the very day she started school. Towards the end of year 1, she started ballet at a different dance school. A year later, the original dance school started a hybrid street/ contemporary dance class – perfect for a little street dancing ballerina. Technically she was too young to join, but they let her in anyway and she only went and won a trophy She had been talking about doing tap dance for a while, so I enquired about classes at her ballet school. She did a trial few weeks at the end of last term and has just started properly.


Her dance classes were always on Mondays and Thursdays – days that were convenient to me. Not easy as such, but easier. They fitted around work – I finish in time to pick the kids up from school on a Monday and I don’t work on Thursdays. The contemporary class was on a Saturday morning, which was fine as my son’s league football season had finished (I don’t watch him play football every week, but I always like to watch his league games).

But then she grew up, moved into year 3, and her class times changed. Suddenly the ‘no pressure’ dance classes looks like an awful lot of pressure – on her and on me.

The ballet is still on Monday. Phew! That’s fine. Although it finishes rather close to my son’s Cubs time. For the past year or so, all of the kids have had microwave meals on Mondays for this reason. That’s OK, one microwave meal a week won’t kill them.

Street has moved to Tuesday – 4.30 to 5.30. I’m at work on Tuesday. My mum has the kids at her house and feeds them. When is she going to have her tea? I can cook it when I get home from work, but she won’t get it until about 6.30 – a bit late for a 7 year old who eats very slowly and is supposed to go to bed at 8pm. So last week she had a microwave meal on Tuesday too. Two microwave meals a week? That’s starting to get a bit much.

The contemporary class has moved to Wednesday – another 4.30 to 5.30. Another day when I work, another day when my mum feeds the kids. To make matters even worse, in the short-term she also has swimming lessons on Wednesday – 6 to 6.30. Now that really does make eating difficult! We discovered that chip shop after swimming followed by bed was most definitely not the answer to that one as she went to bed feeling sick.

Are you still with me? Finally we have tap. It’s on Thursday. Hooray! Again, it finishes rather close to teatime, but at least I’m looking after her on Thursday and can make her tea. She should be able to eat a proper meal at about 6pm. One out of four ain’t bad. Oh yes, actually, it is bad.

Is that too much pressure on a 7 year old? Should she be doing less classes because it’s difficult to feed her and I’m at work? How to make sure she is having healthy meals when she has so little time and she is also very fussy and a slow eater?

Please tell me this isn’t how eating disorders start in dancers…

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. I’m stressed just reading that! You know that our lifestyles are incredibly similar and it’s a very hard decision to make. At the age of 7-8, this does sound like a lot but if it’s her passion and she doesn’t do anything else, I don’t see why not? Have you asked her? Could she stop swimming?

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  2. That sounds a crazy hectic schedule but if she’s enjoying it I’d ask her how she feels about it…

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  3. Thanks very much for your comments, ladies. She seems pretty determined, Suzanne! It’s all her decision – I just write the cheques and provide the taxi services (although my mum provides a lot of that too). Swimming on Wednesdays finishes next week, thank goodness! She will be moving to Saturdays. She’s at the final stage, so hopefully in six months we can drop swimming.

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  4. OMG Sarah my head is spinning from all this … Although not the same amount of running round I have frozen home cooked meals. I batch cook home made meals that i know they will like, stick them in takeaway style boxes and pop them in the freezer then pop in the fridge in the morning.


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  5. Wow, that’s a lot of classes. If she’s keen to do them could she have a cooked school lunch and a packed tea of sandwiches, yoghurt etc? A bit back to front but might make your life easier?

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  6. I’m with Jaime on the batch cooking and freezing, makes life so easy #PoCoLo

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  7. Me again, just popped back to say slow cookers are a godsend if you struggle for time! Chuck everything in when you leave in the morning, make sure it’s switched on (might have failed at that once or twice ;))and when you come in there’s perfect stew / pasta sauce ready to eat.

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  8. Wow lots of dancing, my daughter is 8 and would love to start, but not sure what to start with 🙂

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  9. 1) Happy birthday
    2) I found this I wrote about my slow eating 1&onlyD 3 years ago: “Eliza eats food slowly if she doesn’t like it, spinning out the meal, hoping to be spared it. Eliza eats food slowly if she does like it, savouring and delighting in it. Eliza’s slow eating can be because she gets distracted, by chit-chat or by a game. It may even be because she has a small mouth, or is missing teeth – but she ate slowly with a full mouth of teeth, too.”
    3) Sounds like your daughter is having lots of fun – you too?

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  10. Thanks very much, everyone!
    I should give batch cooking a go – just as soon as we’ve moved house and have a big enough freezer!
    Clairejustine – have a look for a local class in your area. You might want to start with street as your daughter is a bit older – if she starts ballet she may have to be with little ones.
    Dadontouchline – I think your daughter and mine are exactly the same! Mine definitely eats a meal slowly if she doesn’t like it and she is VERY easily distracted! I’m having fun knowing how much she is enjoying dance and how much she is achieving. The taxi service and stress about food is slightly less enjoyable!

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