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When Can We Start?

Pediatrician David Geller explains when it is appropriate for children to start dance or gymnastics lessons for the Baby Center.

According to Dr. Geller, there’s nothing toddlers like better than tumbling around on soft mats. Though your child probably won’t be able to perform any “moves” such as somersaults or headstands until she’s at least 24 months old, she’ll have a great time trying! With the help of a teacher she can bounce on a trampoline, crawl through an obstacle course, and balance on a low beam. Many gyms and recreation centers have tumbling classes for toddlers and this may become the highlight of your child’s week!

Between her second and third birthdays she’ll become ready for more complicated moves; she may even surprise you by learning to hang from the parallel bars, bounce on her bottom on the trampoline, or slide along the vault (with a teacher standing by).

Dance classes may be an even better option for a 2- to 3-year old. While most formal dance classes, such as ballet or tap, won’t accept kids younger than 4 years old, you should be able to find a class just for toddlers that focuses on creative movement, or “pre-dance.” This usually means letting toddlers have fun moving their bodies to a beat. Any class that lets your toddler work off steam by leaping like a deer, hopping like a frog, or unfolding from the floor like a flower growing will probably be a hit. Perhaps most important, it will also encourage her to be more comfortable in social settings.

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