Last year, at the tender age of 3, I enrolled my daughter in a dance class (I know, I know, these are the things moms of one child do). There were many lessons to be taught those first few weeks: keep your hands to yourself, watch the teacher, don’t roll around on the floor and don’t wave at me every five seconds.
But, she loved it. She danced her little heart out once a week for 45 minutes as I watched in amazement of how big my baby was becoming. What I found odd, however, was how few parents watched with me.
The first week, I found a 3 year old and the front entrance, trying with all of her body strength to open the door. As I helped her, she looked back and waved at her mom in a car and ran inside. Her mom then backed up and left. And, judging by a kid to parent ratio of only 2:1, she wasn’t the only one.
I feel like I need to say it again – they’re only 3!
Yes, the dance studio is a safe environment and there are plenty of teachers and parents around, but these girls struggle to get their shoes on and often come out during the practice to go to the restroom. A few times I took someone else’s daughter to the bathroom to help her get her leotard and tights off. Once, a little girl fell down and came out crying for her mommy, who wasn’t there.
Listen, I am more excited than most people to get my girls to an age where I can drop them off at the dance studio and run a couple errands or maybe even join my friends for a quick happy hour before they need to be picked up. I’m not sure what age this is, but it’s definitely when they can put on their own shoes, go to the bathroom themselves and know how to call me if they need anything.
I get that we are all busy. I also understand that we have other kids that aren’t easily entertained for 45 minutes. And, let’s be real, these lessons can be boring to watch. Some parents would bring their iPads or work files to read while their daughters danced. Others would sit and chat with each other. Either way, they were there if their 3-year-old needed them.
I am not trying to be high and mighty here (if I were, I could talk about what girls are wearing to homecoming these days), but I can’t think of many circumstances where it’s OK to drop your 3-year-old off at the door and leave. I also know that I lack the parental experience to know what age it is OK to drop off. So, let me ask – what age do you think is OK to drop off a child at practice and come back when they’re done? Certainly not until they’re in school, at the very least.
Melissa Cruickshank is married with two children. She works full-time. Read her here on momaha.com
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