- Benefits of Dance Classes for Babies and Toddlers
In this episode we welcome Anne-Marie Martin founder of Diddi Dance, Anne-Marie talks all about baby dance and dancing for toddlers. Anne-Marie talks about the benefits of baby and toddler dance classes, when your baby should start dance classes, setting happy habits with your baby through dance, the benefits of dance classes for parents, the mental health benefits of dancing. Anne-Marie talks about dancing with your babies at home with homemade props.
Here are Diddi Dance’s Social Links:
You can find your nearest dance classes by visiting:
[00:09]Carla : Hello and welcome to My Bump 2 Baby Expert podcast, where we bring experts from all over the UK to answer your questions on everything pregnancy to preschool
[00:31]Carla : Today we are joined by the lovely Anne- Marie Martin, the founder of the wonderful franchise Diddi Dance, and she will be talking about the benefits of baby dance. Enjoy
[00:50]Carla : Welcome to My Bump 2 Baby Expert podcast. Today we are joined by the lovely I’m Anne-Marie Martin, the owner founder of the wonderful franchise Diddi Dance. So hi, Anne-Marie, how are you?
[01:06]Anne-Marie: Good. Thank you. Hi, Carla. Thank you for having me on and hi to everyone listening.
[01:10]Carla : Thank you very much for coming on. I think dance, baby dance, dancing for toddlers. It is very, very popular. So I’d love to hear more about the benefits. So, um, could we just start by, um, asking you a couple of questions about the benefits of baby dance for babies and toddlers?
[01:30]Anne-Marie: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think the first thing about dancing is it’s a natural thing for a human to do so you can see it with your own baby when music comes on, they start to move to it. So that’s the first thing it’s very natural. And I do think then once, so our classes start once they’re steady on their feet, once they’re walking so anywhere from around 15, 16 months so that they can really explore the space and the physicality in their bodies a little bit more, we don’t do, um, baby baby ones, but I just think then they’re really ready to explore, explore the space. And it’s such a great form of physical activity that keeps them physically fit. And what we say is it really introduces them to setting those healthy habits and also a lot, dancing to music, which I think we can appreciate as adults as well. Is so great for our mental health as well. So this is such a happy thing for our little ones to do as well. And again, setting happy habits, that being physically active and moving to music is a really positive, fun, happy thing to do as well. So that when they move into school and get older, it’s something that they really used to doing.
[02:58]Carla : Absolutely. And it’s funny you say that about babies just naturally moving it’s very, very true. Um, yeah, absolutely. So I completely agree with you there. So there’s obviously a lot of, a lot of benefits for babies and toddlers. So what are the benefits, for mum’s starting to dance with the baby?
[03:16]Anne-Marie : Oh, so much. So any toddler or baby, any toddler or baby class you go to, you’re getting that social interaction with other mums straight away and that’s lovely. So all classes will have that social element about it. But I think there’s something about a dance class where you just can’t take yourself too seriously. The more you can put into that class, because all of our classes, of course, for the age range of toddlers, we do encourage all the grownups to join in and you dance in then for the benefit of your child as well, or the child you’re looking after. So you’ve got to get up cause that’s a great thing to do with them and they love you joining in. Obviously we get the odd few of like, no, mummy sit down, not joining in or no daddy too embarrassing, but it’s a lovely thing to do together. So I think it’s a lovely bonding experience just taking 45 minutes together and just putting music on and dancing together is lovely, but in a class environment as well, all the grown ups are in the same boat. You’re all dancing together. You all sort of, it can be quite exposing. I know that. You put an adult in a room and said, right, put some music on. You’ve got to dance in front of everyone. You’d be like, Oh, what and that is the same for some children as well. It’s, it’s quite exposing, but when you’ve got a room of people all in it together, it’s great for the parents or the grownups coming as well. Because again, the physical benefits of it, but the mental health benefits of it as well, the more you can dance with your child, the more endorphins you’re gonna release as well. And hopefully the happier and more positive an experience that will be for you as well then.
[05:08]Carla: Great. So your, your classes cater for mums and dads then as well?
[05:13]Anne-Marie : Oh, we have everybody in. We have moms, we have dads, we have grandparents, aunties, uncles, childminders, nannies, all different grownups come to our class. And some of our classes, we have loads of dads in and it’s something I’m really passionate about and I speak to lots of dad groups as well about, this isn’t a mum thing to do. Come on, dad’s dance with your children as well. You know It does take a bit longer. You’ve still got a few people who are like, Ooh, I’m not, I’m not dancing, but we get so many dance now and they love dancing with their children. And I love seeing it. And you know, it doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female, you might not have as good as moves of somebody else in the room, but it doesn’t matter because you’re there for your child and that’s the focus, the sillier you can be, our classes are not serious. We, we don’t teach any sort of discipline technique or alignment or posture. It’s not a disciplined, um, regimented dance class. That’s, you know, technique and that is great when they’re older, for us it’s about a really positive first introduction to move into dance. Um, and so therefore we are really silly. We do do lots of funny things in the session. There’s loads of great props that we use. And so then it’s you in more of an environment where the grownups can be silly too, and just have lots of fun.
[06:42]Carla : That’s fantastic. Yeah. I mean, I’ve been watching your lives. You’ve done a few on our page and they are fantastic. The feedback from them is just wonderful. Um, I just love how, how free you can be. You could just, do what ever you want to do. Honestly, I’ve been enjoying, to be honest George was actually a little busy one day doing something else. I was like, George, George, come on. Anyway, I ended up doing the full class on my own. It was absolutely brilliant. I loved it. And it’s great for exercise as well isn’t it, it’s good for you, but your mind and exercise and just everything really.
[07:19]Anne-Marie : Absolutely. And I think, you know, in class working with this age group, you have to be over the top. I mean, you know, anybody out there that has got a toddler will know that if you’re just like there’s no, yeah. Okay. Do this. They’re like, no, thank you. They’ve all got their own agenda. They will join in when they want to. They won’t be forced to do anything they don’t want to do. So you have to be really funny. You have to be really over the top with your energy because that’s how you’re going to get them engaged. You know, if you can make them laugh and be really silly, then they’re going to be following you more. Cause they’re going to be like, is she going to make me laugh again? When can I laugh again? And then when you switch that to online, when you haven’t got those physical children in front of you, you’ve either got them on the other side of the screen or you’re doing it to your phone as a live then you have to be even more over the top and really quite stupid really, because you’ve got to try and get them engaged.
[08:20]Carla : Yeah. No, it’s great. Absolutely loved it. So what age then, would you suggest that,I mean, obviously babies can’t necessarily just start dancing, but what age would you encourage children to start dancing then?
[08:34]Anne-Marie : Well, I think there’s some great baby classes out there, you know, there are ones, um, where they, you know, there’s a sort of, um, baby massage and things, anything that gets the, babies moving with lots of props and tactile things. They’re great for the babies and the music classes that are out there, all fantastic. And then I think once they get to an age where they don’t want to sit and obey as much because they’re crawling or they’re running around when it gets to that point where, you know, they’re really, really mobile where, you know what it’s like with a toddler, once they’re ready to run, they’re just a runner or they’ve got loads of energy and sitting still isn’t really that much of an option anymore. That’s the right age to find a dance class. Definitely. It’s such a great way of burning off energy for them, giving them a little bit of structure in a really fun way, nothing to serious and also just giving them that little bit of focus. So it’s usually anywhere between sort of 15 to 18 months, once they’ve really steady on their feet and they can follow a few instructions. That’s a really great time to start.
[09:48]Carla: No, makes sense. That’s fantastic. So, so how could parents get started at home then have you got any suggestions of what they can do from the comfort of their own home?
[09:59]Anne-Marie : Oh, absolutely. I mean, apart from watching, did he dance online right now.
[10:04]Carla : Of course.
[10:04]Anne-Marie : It’s just about getting some music on. So maybe find the music that they react really well to and what they’re used to, something really familiar. And I think he’s just letting them explore it. It might be that you put some music on and there’s a special song that always gets them wiggling and jiggling around note that, and always play that one to them, but get involved. Just find, even if it’s just 10 minutes in, of your day, just rather than, um, you know, maybe making anything, any playtime to formal maybe go, Oh, okay so let’s get some music on and have a dance with them. Great things like holding hands together, galloping round the room, doing a little bit of a spin and a partner work and all things like that. It’s so much you can do because it’s just a natural thing to do. So I think once you put music on at home. It’s something that will come natural. And as a grownup, then you haven’t even got to think about anybody else watching you because you’re gaining your confidence. They’re gaining their confidence in how physically their body moves. And then I think, make some props. So I think props are a really good thing for children to dance with. It helps them explore the space and it helps them explore moving things and how those things move. So we use ribbons and hula hoops and tap sticks and maracas and things in class. But especially since we’ve gone online, these are things that we’ve now discovered you can make at home. So you could just get a strip of material. Hold one end and dance around the room with, with the ribbon. Um, if you haven’t got a hula hoop at home, even just a ball, spinning it, rolling they are really great things for growth and fine motor skills. And then anything that you can get that makes a noise. So if you’ve got some plastic bottles or Tupperware containers, fill it with some rice or lentils or tiny little Lego bits that they can shake, they can really hear that. And that is also really great for their rhythm work as well. So get a song on with a strong beat and try and get them to shake along to the beat, anything like that, we’ve even just made some homemade castanets, uh, recently. And they’re just strong, thick cardboard with buttons or bottle tops on that they can just click together. And that’s a really great action, especially for your more three plus year olds as well, because it’s called the pincer grip. And it’s something that they’ll do at school a lot because it helps them hold a pen. And there’s lots of things that we do as well. You can do lots of counting and singing at home. Anything that uses finger play, anything like that. There’s lots that you can do at home. Um, but the main thing is just get that music on and have fun together. It’s great.
[12:59]Carla : Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Totally agree. So Anne-Marie, can you tell our audience a bit about Diddi Dance and also where they’ll be able to find you and your classes in the future?
[13:12]Anne-Marie : You can find us on Diddydance.com and that’s D I D D I. Facebook, we are, diddi dance. Instagram is Diddi dance crew. And we’re also on Twitter at Diddi dance as well, oh we’ve even started tiktok, which is @originaldiddidancer. We are on YouTube as well. So there is a channel Diddi dance, and we’ve been uploading even more clips lately while everybody’s been staying safe at home. And you can just access lots online now and join in with things at home. And then when we return to physical classes and parties, and we also go into schools and nurseries as well and deliver classes there. Then if you go to the website, there’s a postcode search and you can find where your local, diddi dancer is because we’re a franchise company. I franchised it many years ago. So that other, most of them are mums, but other, uh, people can run their own and make their own business out of running Diddi Dance in their exclusive territory and providing the classes for their local community.
[14:20]Carla : Excellent. Thanks very much for coming on Anne-Marie. And I’ll put all of the links in the show notes that you mentioned, um, but really appreciate that. Thank you.
[14:31]Anne-Marie : Oh, thank you so much for having me. I’ve loved it.
[14:33]Carla : Thank you. Bye bye.
[14:35]Anne-Marie : Bye.
[14:38]Carla : Thank you for listening to my bump to babies expert podcast. If you would like to find help and support from experts in your local area, head over to www.mybump2baby.com and you will also be able to find local pregnancy to preschool groups, classes, businesses, and services in your local area.
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