Your Tween’s First School Dance

Your tween will soon head to his or her first school dance. It’s a fun and exciting time, but often, worries can arise for both of you. Will your child fit in? Will he or she feel peer pressured to try something they shouldn’t? Who will be chaperoning the event? Reviewing the details before the event can help to alleviate some anxiety.

Go over Rules and Safety 

Start with the basics by going over any rules or policies the school has put in place for the dance. Find out if there are any specific restrictions or guidelines for attendees to follow, like attire and what or what not to bring. Additionally, it’s important to advise your child about safety measures such as not accepting drugs or alcohol from peers, and refraining from posting inappropriate photos to social media. What’s posted on social media can be around forever and can be a factor in cyberbullying.

Shop for the Outfit

Some questions to ask before you and your tween hit the mall include: does the dance have a theme? Is it casual, semi-formal or formal? Are there strict guidelines? Once you’ve gathered the details, it’s time for the fun. It’s not always necessary to shop for a new dress or suit. Refer to your tween’s closet (or siblings) first and have fun trying on outfits. If you decide to hit the mall, be sure to practice patience while shopping with your tween. Worries about body image are common during this age range, and it’s important to remind them that they look their best in the outfit in which they feel their best.

Practice Dancing 

For many, the first school dance also means the first time slow dancing. Show them the basics and encourage them to practice slow and fast dancing to some of their favorite songs. If your tween doesn’t love the idea of having you teach them to dance, watch their favorite YouTuber together for pointers.

Have an Exit Plan

Let your tween know that you will always be available to pick them up if they start to feel uncomfortable. Consider coming up with a code word they can text to you in case they want to head home or an emergency occurs.

School dances are an exciting milestone when handled safely. After setting some ground rules, remember to take lots of pictures and to encourage your tween to have a great time.