Photo Credits: Angelos Fragkos

The relationship between child and parent is one of the main pillars on which the behavior of the future adult is formed. In order to be able to develop a harmonious relationship with your child, it is important that parents provide a safe environment for the child and open a channel of communication without prejudice. Children need more attention, because they absorb the information around them and fail to pass it through their own filter (especially before 10 years of age, the brain reaching maturity around the age of 20) without the help of their parents.

Learn to communicate with your child through dance and discover the benefits of creative dance and its therapeutic form.

The relationship between parent and child influences the mental state of the future adult

A study published in The Journal of Psychology tells us that a relationship based on harmony, trust and affection helps to develop a child\’s cognitive and social-emotional skills. The effects of this relationship can be observed in adolescence and later in adulthood, when we talk about balanced adults with a mental health inclined to well-being. The state of well-being is recognized as multidimensional and with hedonic (related to happiness and pleasure) and eudaimonic (related to the identification of a goal) aspects.

Creative dance helps to overcome barriers in the parent-child relationship

Through creative dance, parents and children get to discover not only things about themselves but also about the people around them. There is a close connection between the body, the brain and the emotions, and mirroring promotes the closeness between parent and child, as well as an open door into their emotional universe. With the help of movement and activities (games) that involve active listening, parents can better understand their children\’s behavior. Creative dance, as well as its therapeutic component, helps the parent to understand how the child\’s current experiences and feelings could influence his future decisions. It can be seen as a form of health through art, but with a real and beneficial impact on improving interpersonal communication.

How can you understand what your child is thinking?

The Ways of Seeing method is based on dance therapy, the principles of Laban-Bartenieff movement analysis, neuroscience and theories underlying the child\’s development. In the first years of life, the child decodes nonverbal language faster than verbal language because he does not yet have the necessary means to understand what the adults want to communicate verbally. Creative dance activities for families are based on movement games through which you can observe the movements, the rhythms that the child performs, and these activities have been developed as a way to improve communication with the child. The central element of creative dance is to help parents observe and understand the nonverbal messages that children convey, as well as setting social-emotional goals.

The emotions felt by children are often the result of quite strong inner experiences, often not having the necessary tools to explain them to the parent

Dance therapy has direct benefits on physical health, as it encourages exercise and is a fun way for children to burn energy. At the same time, the child develops coordination and balance and improves his movement vocabulary, making transitions between rhythms, applying them according to the context, and creating from the unknown.

Mentally, the quality of movement will indicate the emotional universe of the child, as well as the various emotions he goes through. His movements can often be a consequence of feelings of anger or fear, and the parent will be guided throughout the process to identify the metaphor of the movement, respectively that type of movement performed unconsciously, which is repeated in different contexts or moments. Creative dance or dance therapy sessions are recommended for parents as an additional method to understand their children from a social-emotional point of view, to help them if they are going through difficult times or to teach them to convey their emotions through an artistic method and therapeutic at the same time.

Creative dancing helps you communicate more easily with your child

Every parent wants to build a relationship based on mutual trust and affection with the child, and often the signals transmitted by children are not clear enough to understand what is happening in their world. Below we have prepared a series of questions and answers provided by Sorina, the founder of TMoves, Ways of Seeing practitioner, movement analyst, choreographer and social-emotional creative dance teacher designed to help you understand the importance of a harmonious relationship built with creative dance.

Can creative dance help me decipher what my child wants to say to me?

Creative dance is first and foremost a way of deep connection with both the self and the dance partner, beyond words. As we know \”it takes two to tango,\” which involves sharing leadership, in which everyone has the opportunity to propose movements, to explore the physical space, the relational space, and to refuse what is proposed. Refusal can be, depending on the context and frequency, the way to communicate to me an emotional need, the limit of respecting one\’s own choice.

From all the movement games and the dancing dialogue that is created, you can see how the relationship changes, the preferences, the needs, as well as the rhythm of the child in relation to those of the parent. We observe and analyze the discrepancies in the quality of movement, as well as the ruptures that occur in this relationship, and how we can heal or repair them. These dissensions are normal and occur every day, but the way in which these moments are repaired is the most important because it can give rise to a pattern that will be used unconsciously, in the future, in other contexts. And of course, it\’s a way to express the emotional universe, and to have access to emotions and how I can manage them.

Art has the power to transpose the emotions felt by the child in creative, unique, expressive ways that do not hurt anyone and that provide clues about a lesser known universe. Through the analysis system of Kestenberg rhythms, as well as that of the Laban-Bartenieff movement analysis one, we can assess where there are blockages in development, and then make an intervention plan through movement, play and creative dance as a therapeutic tool to target not only „the healing dance”, as well as the development of life skills: creativity, interpersonal skills, problem solving, critical thinking, etc. (we define them as psycho-social skills).

How can I tell if my child is not happy with something?

Every child is different and unique, therefore the way he will express himself will be specific to his self and the lived experiences, assimilated on a certain emotional basis. At the beginning of life we ​​learn and interact through what we have seen, felt and experienced from parents and primary caregivers (e.g. grandparents, etc.). Thus, I would start from the question of how I react as an adult when I am not satisfied, what the child saw in me and from me both through the non-verbal, paraverbal and verbal language in those moments and what I communicated to him about that interplay.

It will be a starting point that will help us get to know ourselves better, the way we passed it on to the child, and then we can see what the child has taken from us. Some children will be more expressive, or vocal in showing their dissatisfaction; others will not, blocking themselves or they will not allow themselves to express themselves due to shame, which in time will produce emotional blockages, even physical ones through somatizations. I think it is important to encourage them to express their dissatisfaction with as much compassion as possible in an area of ​​resilience, rather than aggressive or explosive.

From the point of view of movement we can look at the posture (it will close most of the time, or they will have the tendency to compress by bringing the hands, arms close to the body), small gestures that we sometimes do not notice (exp. a small muscle tension in the shoulders, neck that can be seen by a change in their position), as well as facial expressions (exp. small grimaces, or frowning). The tone of voice and body rhythm will change depending on the intensity of the dissatisfaction and the way he built his way of reacting.

Can the child really express himself better through dance than with words?

Each of us prefers a certain type of language depending on the context or stage of life. But when we are small, non-verbal language is the main one and somehow even if the transition to the verbal one is made, some of us choose this type of expression, or find it easier. It was difficult for me to put into words everything I felt not only because I didn\’t know how to do it, how to identify and manage my emotions, but also because art gives me a way to not feel judged or forced to justify myself. It gives me a special freedom and the possibility to be myself, and the people in front of me (the audience) can perceive and interpret what they want.

Throughout life we ​​unconsciously choose the type of learning we prefer the most, and so we come to develop more or less the 8 types of multiple intelligence discovered by Professor Gardner. I can say that the dance helped me to become an extrovert even though I was an introvert as a child / teenager, and to develop my kinesthetic, visual-spatial and logical-mathematical intelligence especially, which was observed in the academic results I’ve achieved over the years.

If you want to discover the power of movement, of non-verbal language, and what it communicates about the child\’s inner emotional universe, let\’s get to know each other in the individual sessions of Creative Family Dance by filling in the form on our website here.

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