July 02, 2015

Q: My daughter is 25 months old and has never been to nursery school- she really has no interaction with other children (I don't have friends with children or relatives). She started dancing lessons and is in a small class and she will not follow direction. The other children are able to do the steps with the teachers, line up against the wall and sit down; my daughter knocked over a trash can four times today and seems to be in her own world.

A: Your daughter is really quite young and inexperienced to be expected to follow directions from a stranger, in a class full of other kids. I would bet that the class you're describing actually has older children in it, in addition to 2-year-olds. A class full of 2-year-olds doesn't look like a classroom of ballerinas -- usually, it looks more like a teacher herding a bunch of cats wearing tutus. They're all over the place! And that's normal.

The fact that your daughter doesn't have much experience with other children -- or teachers -- certainly doesn't help. But your goal is for your daughter to have a fun experience in a social, learning situation -- learning "real" ballet isn't important at this age. The best kind of class for a 2-year-old is one where parents can join in and give encouragement and help in following along in class. Make it fun for both of you -- that's the key here.

Answered by Dr. Heather Wittenberg