Most of us hate being told to eat more healthily or get more exercise. But one piece of advice you don’t hear very often is that you should dance more. However, while you might associate "letting your hair down" with the nights out us mums used to get a few times a year, in fact it’s good to let loose and enjoy yourself on a regular basis, even if it is only in the kitchen.
We know dancing is a good form of exercise (it’s no surprise that Zumba is such a popular fitness program) but it’s also great for adults and kids' mental health too. Here are some mental benefits that you probably hadn’t thought you'd get from dancing with your kids.
Reduces stress and tension
Just like traditional exercise, dancing reduces tension and stress. It stimulates the release of endorphins and dopamine, which in turn make us feel happier. When we’re concentrating on dancing, we’re also focusing on the music and our movements instead of what we’ve been worrying about.
Helps us to express our emotions
Healthy emotional expression is important because it allows us to acknowledge and understand our emotions, to feel them and to move on. If kids and adults can express their feelings while they’re dancing, they can release any negative emotions and feel better afterwards.
It improves confidence
Whether it’s dancing with your friends (once we’re allowed) or with your family in your front room, dancing strengthens social bonds and enhances feelings of connections and togetherness. It’s also a great confidence boost if you master a routine or get a great score on Just Dance!
Although we found homeschooling tough like everyone else, our highlight was when my son’s teacher would send a link to a new KIDZ BOP dance tutorial every Friday. We’d all watch it first thing in the morning and attempt to master the moves (obviously the kids were better than the grown-ups) and it definitely gave us a boost and put us in a good mood. You’ll find all the tutorials on YouTube if you haven’t already succumbed.
We also purchased Just Dance for the Nintendo Switch over the lockdown and it’s definitely one game I don’t feel guilty about my son playing regularly. Aside from the constant reminders to upgrade the game, I’d definitely recommend it if you and your kids fancy a dance-off.
Aside from relying on YouTube or Nintendo to provide us with inspiration, we’re also big fans of simply selecting a song, cranking up the volume and pulling out all our best moves. We all have our own favourites, so we have to take it in turns. My two year old loves the Disney Cars soundtrack; my eight-year-old and my husband love Queen and AC/DC; while I normally select a boyband track from the 90s.
Talking of boybands, Ronan Keating once sang "And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance/ I hope you dance" and I think it’s sound advice!