One child sits playing happily with his cars when a sibling swoops in and steals his favorite one.
Everything you say to diffuse the situation is met with hostility, drama, and loud over-the-top outbursts.
Or maybe something just feels off and everyone is in “a mood”.
Tempers flare as the atmosphere in the house reaches peak crankiness.
That’s when you need a dance party.
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For as long as I can remember, living room dance parties have been our go-to activity to calm down or turn around a bad day.
It started when they were toddlers, blasting some “We are the Dinosaurs” or “The Goldfish” by the Laurie Berkner Band and marching around the house, or pretending to be fish to get us through the pre-dinner witching hour while my husband worked late.
I knew I could play “I’m Gonna Catch You” and it would always lead to a fun game of tag and end with us in all in a pile of giggles on the floor. Ahh, good times.
Over the years the living room dance party evolved.
My oldest started listening to Kidz Bop at school, and introduced us to “Go Noodle”. If you haven’t heard of it- go check it out. It’s full of free fitness videos to get kids up and moving.
The kids started developing new moves of their own, and I attempted to mimic them.
Scientifically Proven Benefits to the Living Room Dance Party
It may seem like a common sense solution. Dance parties are fun! And everyone has likely experienced music’s ability to turn around a bad mood at one time or another.
But, they’re also scientifically proven to increase bonding, improve fitness, reduce stress, AND boost mood and self-esteem.
Plus, have you ever mirrored a 5-year-old’s dance moves?
Girl, that will get your heart rate up fast! But science also tells us that mirroring others helps foster stronger relationships.
Dancing With Others Creates Emotional Closeness and Increases Bonding
According to this article, “A new study from the University of Oxford shows that dancing together with others boosts health and wellbeing. Even rocking or walking in step with someone creates a feeling of emotional closeness. The endorphin kick from dancing in sync increases pain tolerance and boosts the sense of connectedness with those you’re dancing with.”
And if you’ve ever danced with a baby, you can attest to the fact that babies feel it too. Bronwyn Tarr, this study’s researcher, told Mic magazine, “They pick up the beat and get a lot of pleasure out of moving along to it.”
More Benefits to the Living Room Dance Party
Dancing is good for your brain.
An article on the Teacher Pop website gives these three reasons why dance parties help classrooms, which can also apply to kids at home. These three highlights come from a research article-
- Brain structure. Higher fit children have larger brain volumes in the hippocampus and basal ganglia, which relate to superior performance on tasks of memory and cognitive control, compared to their lower fit peers.
- Structural integrity. Higher fit children show greater white matter structural integrity, which is associated with faster and more efficient communication of signals throughout the brain.
- Brain function. The brain scans of fit vs. unfit kids show differences in brain activation during activities requiring concentration. The scans showed how the brain “lights up” differently while more active children performed the same activities as less active children.
Dance Parties Have Practical Parenting Benefits Too
In addition to all of these scientific reasons why you should have a dance party as often as possible, I can tell you that there are tons of practical parenting benefits too.
- Music makes us all happier.
- Music motivates us to get things done.
- Dance parties give us something to talk about later, and that increases the shared experience among our family members. For example, we’ll be sitting in the car and a song will come on that we love, so we’ll talk about the crazy moves that my son made up during our last dance party and we’ll all laugh about it.
- Music helps me calm down, laugh, and enjoy myself and then I can parent from a better place. I’m less stressed, so I’m less likely to snap at my kids, and that’s why having a dance party is on my list of 50 Calm Down Tips.
If you don’t already have a dance party playlist of your favorite songs, grab this free Spotify playlist I created with some of our favorites.
It includes some old school songs your kids might not have heard of, plus a few from kid artists, like Laurie Berkner, and Kidz Bop versions with clean lyrics of some popular radio hits.
Now, whenever things get chaotic in your house, you have a playlist ready for a dance party.
I promise it will help change the mood of your family and reset the day.