Preparing Tweens for a Middle School Dance

Boy and girl (10-13) dancing at school dance. side view
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Many middle schools host school dances, whether they're over the course of the school year or just once, annually. A teenager's first school dance is a milestone, and they can often feel nervous and stressed out about what to wear, how to dance, and when to show up. Make sure your tween enjoys their first school dance by preparing ahead of time.

Preparing Tweens for a Middle School Dance

The first thing you want to do is check if there's a theme for the dance. Most school dances have a theme or are held to celebrate a holiday, special event, or a season. There could be themes around Valentine's Day, homecoming, or spring, for instance. This will give you an idea of what to wear and what kind of music will be playing.

The second thing you'll want to look for is logistics like cost. Many schools charge a nominal fee in order to pay for dance expenses. Something like $10 per student is to be expected, and depending on where your child goes to school, tickets may be sold weeks before, or right at the door the night of the dance. Admission usually covers refreshments like appetizers, punch, and cookies. However, you'll want to give your son or daughter a few bucks, in case there are any extra unexpected fees.

Go Over the Basics

The third thing on the list is finding out who's invited. Your tween's middle school dance may be open to the entire school, or it might be specific to one grade. For instance, small schools may invite students from a neighboring school to the dance. This could be to share costs, give kids a chance to make new friends, or to simply open them up to mingling with children from other schools.

Of course, most middle school dances are held at the school itself, like in the cafeteria or the gym. However, you'll want to be sure of the location, in case it's in another building around town. Many schools have dance or events committees that decorate for the event, and the school may ask for student volunteers to help set up as well. Be sure to ask for details prior to the dance, if you haven't received any information.

Dress Code

One of the most important things to know is what to wear. It's no surprise that tweens can be super self-conscious about their appearance, and your child may even be anxious about what to wear to the school dance. Your preteen should find out if the event is semi-formal, formal, or casual. For semi-formal and formal events, a suit or a shirt and tie often works for boys, and a nice dress works for girls. Casual dances are the easiest to dress for, as jeans and a nice shirt or a blouse are sure to satisfy the dress code.

It's important to stress the dance dress code, as some schools are more strict than others, as far as what is deemed appropriate and what is not. It would be embarrassing for your child to be sent home for a dress code infraction. Thus, it's a good idea for your daughter or son to know what he or she is wearing ahead of time, and to be sure that clothes are clean and ready to go a few days before the dance. If it's been a while since your child tried on any clothing or shoes, it's worth the time to make sure they still fit.

Just Dance

For many tweens, their first middle school dance is often the first time they'll be dancing with a huge group of people. Sometimes, dancing in front of peers can be stressful for kids. Help your tween prepare by playing some Top 40 at home, playing interactive Wii games that involve some dancing, or even host a party a few weeks before so your child can practice dancing with friends at home.