How to Convince Your Parents to Let You Do Dance Lessons

OMG I am doing dance lessons now because I used the tips in this article to help me convince my parents to say yes! #dance #ballet #dancelessons #teenproblems #extracurricular

When I was younger I wanted to study dance full time. When I first told my parent’s my dream, their initial reaction was ‘well we are not paying for that‘. But I was determined to dance and so I found solutions to make it happen. And you can too! Whether you just want to start one lesson a week or dance full-time we have put together a whole heap of solutions that can work for everyone!

How to Convince Your Parents to Let You Dance? A Simple Guide:

  1. Find a good time to talk to your parents.
  2. Tell your parents what you want to do.
  3. Explain the pros vs. cons of dancing (but more of the pros).
  4. Ask them what they think about you starting dance classes.
  5. Listen to your parents; do not interrupt them.
  6. Show them you are dedicated by practicing at home.

Hopefully, they said yes to you! If not, there is more work to be done to convince them to let you take dance lessons. Follow these steps and hopefully, you will be dancing in no time!

Find a Good Time to Talk to Your Parents.

Any time you need to talk to your parents, make sure they aren’t distracted or busy and look like they are in a good mood. You are more likely to get a positive response to your questions compared to them being tired and grumpy.

If they are stressed out and running behind, they will either give you a short “no” or just ignore you completely. They may say “we will talk later” but later will never come, as they will forget because they were running late.

Make sure it is also a good time for you to talk. Are you calm and in a positive mood yourself? If you are distracted or stressed it may not be the best time for you to start an important conversation with your parents as you might react badly without thinking to their answer if it is not what you want to hear.

In the first movie, Mary Poppins sings a song called ‘A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down’. So make sure the conditions are right before you begin talking with them. Is there anything you can do to sweeten the deal – make your parents a drink, do some extra chores in the days or weeks leading up to you asking. Just don’t go overboard or they will know something is up and you are after something!

Another strategy is to make an appointment to speak with your parents. Set a time and clear the calendar so you can sit down and have a good conversation about what you want. Make it clear that you have something important to ask them. If they say why not ask me right now, you can say I am still preparing and researching before I ask to make sure I have all the information to present to you. This might intrigue them, so make sure you schedule the appointment sooner rather than later.

Tell Your Parents What You Want to Do

Prepare
Before you approach your parents, make sure you have worked out exactly what you want to ask them. You need to clarify for yourself exactly what it is you want to start doing. You might do this by writing notes in a journal, researching the dance school you want to go to on the internet and finding out as much as you can about doing lessons including times and costs. You might also start doing some online dance tutorials on YouTube to see if dance lessons are really what you want or if you are already dancing start to increase your practice at home to start building your stamina and strength in readiness for full-time training (refer to step 6 for more ideas).

The Conversation
Once you are prepared and the time is right to talk with your parents don’t begin with metaphors and stories, this will just confuse them. In a confident clear voice say to them “I would like to start dance lessons” and elaborate on where you would like to go dance – after school or on the weekends at a local dance studio. Or maybe you already dance but want to try and pursue it as a career and so are asking to start training Full-time by applying for a ballet school or doing a degree in dance at college. Something else you will need to work out is what type of dance you are wanting to study. Are you thinking of street dancing, hip hop, ballet or contemporary dance? You will need to clarify this as well.

Ask them for their permission but be polite and respectful at the same time. If they say no, do not get all huffy towards them, just say “ok” and walk away calmly. This was not the time to ask them.

Go to step 6 and then try asking them again later. Wait a few days, weeks, or even a month, before you ask them again. Do not push the issue, as this will increase the amount of “no’s” you will be hearing.

Explain the Pros vs Cons of Dancing

What is so great about dancing? Why do you want to dance? Explain all of this to your parents. Let them know how much joy dancing brings you, and how you want to share your skills with the world. Be honest, and anytime you might go into explaining a negative side to dancing such as the costs or that they have to take you to lessons always finish the sentence with a positive about doing dancing lessons.

The Pros:

  • Dancing will teach you to be disciplined.
  • Dancing will keep you active and fit and develop muscle memory and tone that can last throughout life.
  • Dancing can be a life long hobby and past time.
  • Dancing will help you be more creative and artistic in your endeavors, giving you a new view on problems and the world.
  • Dancing will help develop your brain and movement memory and thus your memory overall; and it will help you think critically.
  • Going to dance lessons is better than sitting at home being on screens all afternoon.
  • Dancing can open up new career directions and can be a valued skill in any occupation I choose in the future.
  • There are hundreds of jobs that require the skills of a dancer and they don’t all require you to dance on stage. For some ideas on this you can read our article The ultimate dance careers pathways and future jobs list
  • Tell them that dancers are better at memory tests compared to those who do not dance.
  • Show them how your critical thinking will improve if you take up dance.

You don’t want to totally avoid telling them the cons and negatives, but you might mention a few so that your parents know you understand that doing dancing lessons will have an impact and consequence on your family and you. That way they know you are considering the whole dancing situation, and they will believe that you are thinking critically already. This will make them see you as more mature, instead of you just sitting and begging them to let you dance.

The Cons:

  • Doing dance classes might not be what you thought it would be like and you don’t do it for very long.
  • You might realize you just liked moving and dancing at home rather than on stage in front of people and might want to quit.
  • You need to be really disciplined to learn to dance well and you might find you don’t have the passion or determination, in the end, to see it through.
  • There is a big chance you might get injured such as spraining an ankle or pulling a muscle.
  • There are costs involved in doing dance lessons.
  • You will need to be dropped off or picked up from class.
  • It will take time away from doing schoolwork and chores.
  • The life of an artist can be hard and challenging because there are a lot of people who don’t see the value in it.

The important thing to remember when discussing a con is having a solution already thought up for it. For example, I will need to be dropped off or picked up from class but our neighbor Marcy is also doing lessons so we can walk together or we can organize carpooling with her mom. Don’t worry we discuss more ideas for dealing with the cons and your parent’s concerns in more detail soon!

Ask Your Parents What They Think About You Starting Dance Classes.

Now it is your parents’ turn to talk. What do they think about you starting dancing lessons? Let them talk, while you sit and listen. Do not interrupt them, as this will quickly get you a “no.”

You may want to say to them; “that is what I would like to do (insert your dance plan here). What do you think about me starting dancing lessons?” and then let them talk to you about their point of view.

If they just tell you “no” right away or say, “I am not sure about it,” you should ask them what their concerns are about you starting dancing lessons.

Some of their concerns may include:

  1. You need to have time to do your homework.  If you are too focused on dancing, your school grades may slide. That is a valid parental concern.
  2. You need to have a ride to these dance classes or practices, how are you going to get there?
  3. Dance classes cost money; how will you pay for them? Maybe money is tight at home, and your parents do not want to pick up the extra expense.
  4. They may think that if you start to dance lessons it will result in it taking up too much time away from your duties at home as well as school. You would have to learn how to balance everything.
  5. How is this an important skill to learn for you to get a career? How would you use dancing in the real world?
  6. Perhaps you continually begin an activity and then just quit after your parents have paid for the equipment and term fees, why will trying dance lessons be different?

Now that your parents have gone over all their concerns, it is time for you to talk again. You will need to address each concern they mentioned to you.

But where do you start?

You can begin by repeating back to them what they have said in your own words. This tells a speaker that you have listened to what they have said before addressing their concerns with well planned and thought out responses which we will help you cover right here!

How to Address Your Parents’ Concerns?

First Concern – Homework
You need to address getting your homework done. You can absolutely balance doing that and dance, but you must convince your parents that you can and have a plan on how you will accomplish it.

  • Tell them how you understand that schoolwork is important in your life.
  • Explain to them that you have a plan in place to have time to do your homework, while also taking the time to go to practice dancing and go to class. Some plan examples might be doing your homework straight after school without fail every afternoon or waking up early or spend X amount of hours on the weekend or not go out with friends so much anymore. Either have put this plan into action already to show them it can be done or tell them you will show them over the next few weeks that you can stick to it!
  • Let them know you want to focus on getting better grades, and that dancing will improve your cognitive skills which will help you to maintain focus in school.
  • Also because you are so passionate about dance and want to do it so badly being allowed to go to dance class will be a great motivation to get homework done otherwise you know your parents will stop letting you go!
  • Promise them that if your grades in school slip and it is because of dance (not because of something else like you just don’t understand the work) that you will quit dance.

This may impress your parents and show them that you have put some thought into how dance classes will impact your studies.

Second Concern – Transport
If your parents aren’t able to get you to class or have reservations about becoming your chauffeur and the time it will take out of their already busy day, you might have to create a plan for getting to and from your dance classes.

  • Find a dance class that is close enough for you to walk to.
  • You could ride your bike.
  • If you’re old enough, you could drive yourself.
  • You could carpool with a friend that is also going to dance.
  • You could take the bus if one is available in your area.
  • You can do weekend classes so that you are walking or catching the bus during daylight hours if safety is a concern.
  • If your school offers dance classes, drill team or cheerleading perhaps you could be involved in one of these activities at school where many of the above options such as carpooling or catching the bus are easier to organize.
  • Find a dance studio close to your school so that you can walk/bike/bus there and only need to be picked up.

These ideas will hopefully address your transportation issues.

Third Concern – Costs
You might need to convince your parents that you will help with paying for your dance classes as well as possible transport costs and any other fees your dance school charges. For more information on costs you can read our articles How much do dance classes cost? and How much should a dance recital costume cost?

  • Explain that you have found either a low-cost school, free classes at a community center or will look into getting a scholarship or funding from a charitable group.
  • Discuss the fact that you have found a dance school that allow you to just do classes without the requirement to perform in the studio recital or do competitions or exams as these have extra costs related to them.
  • Some dance schools might need someone to clean the studio or do other work in return for free lessons, which is something you can ask about if you have no other way to pay your fees.
  • Perhaps you can help to cover half of the expenses of the classes or even all of it by getting a job or doing chores for neighbors such as babysitting, mowing lawns and cleaning out gutters.
  • If money is going to be the biggest issue then you might have to try and get a job and some income yourself first to show them you are capable of helping to pay or paying for your lessons.
  • Explain to them that you would buy used equipment, such as shoes and other accessories to bring down costs.
  • If your parents are concerned about having both a job and dance lessons is too much you could work through your summer holidays and save enough for lessons the following school year.

This shows your parents your initiative and just how much you are dedicated to doing dance classes.

Fourth Concern – Home Duties/Chores
You need to explain to them that you can balance dancing, school, and your home duties altogether. You can do this by:

  • Make a schedule showing when dance classes will be, what you must do for school, and any duties at home you need to take care of for your parents.
  • Buy a planner or an app that you can write everything down in to keep yourself organized.
  • Develop a routine and stick to it for a few weeks before asking your parents to show them you can get everything done.
  • Start prioritizing your sleep so that you are rested enough to get through your day. This means no screens an hour or more before bed and trying to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day.

This will help them see that you are prepared to keep doing all your duties, while also having the time for dance classes.

Fifth Concern – Career
Your parents might not see the value in learning to dance and are worried you will never amount to anything or be able to get a good-paying job if you focus all your time on becoming a dancer. You need to show them you have a back up plan or how dance is a career.

  • Explain that you can study dance alongside many other subjects at college or university in an arts degree or double degree such as arts/business or arts/psychology degree all of which would give you a greater edge over others in those industries as you will have a variety of skills.
  • Show them a list of colleges that have dance degrees and especially highlight the information on the college websites that state information such as – many of our students have gone into careers and jobs such as…
  • One day you might be your own business owner or entrepreneur having your own dance school or company.
  • You can explain that this will just be a hobby and you aren’t thinking of it as a future career and that having a hobby outside of school especially one that involves movement and fitness helps to increase your productivity in any other career you go into.
  • Go through a list of jobs you could do as a dancer and how some involve traveling the world and being paid to do so. Show them our article on the ultimate dance career pathways and job list and watch some of the linked videos with them.
  • Show your parents that you know you will need a backup plan if dancing falls through and that you are prepared to have multiple majors or degrees to back that up. You know you will need something to support yourself and eventually your family.

Hopefully these tips and ideas will help win your parents over!

Sixth Concern – Sticking With It!
Perhaps you need to convince your parents to let you do dance lessons because you have tried karate, gymnastics, tennis, swimming or any other afterschool activity but you just never really enjoyed them and so quit leaving your parents quite furious that they spent so much time and money on something you never really had your heart in.

If this is the case you will need to prove to them that you will stick with dancing and you could try doing some of the following.

  • Start practicing dance with online tutorials. Set up a schedule so you do this routinely every day, every other day, every school day – whatever works for you.
  • Loan books from the library about dance and start building up your knowledge and understanding of the art form. Make sure you let your parents see you reading and learning.
  • Use your own money from birthdays/Christmas or earn some by doing extra chores or getting a job to buy yourself the equipment you need so that your parents don’t have to.
  • Use your own money from birthdays/Christmas or earn some by doing extra chores or getting a job to pay for lessons yourself.
  • Use any of the suggestions in the third concern about cost.

You need to show and prove to your parents you are committed by committing your own time and money first!

Are your parents still not convinced?

Then you may need to ask a professional or someone from the dance school you want to attend, maybe the teacher or a dance student that has been there a while, how dancing can benefit you. You might just need someone else whose opinions your parents value to tell them that dance classes will help you with school, real life, college life, and more. That person might even be the kid in your class with the best grades that your parents keep comparing you to who also does dance lessons!

By listening to someone who has or is dancing without it damaging their schoolwork, homelife or career opportunities it can show them that you will be able to do the same. They may think: “What, so if other people can do it, so can our child.” They will see that you are more than prepared to do this and that having the other person convince them may help your parents rule in your favor.

Things Not to Do!

While you are taking the time to convince your parents, you need to make sure you act respectfully and maturely towards them. You should not, for any reasons whatsoever:

  • Do not, under any circumstance, act snotty. No rolling your eyes, exasperated sighing, or in any way show annoyance towards them.
  • Do not get angry. Even if you feel angry, do not show it. If your parents start to get angry, you all will need to take a step back and breathe. Take a short break and reconvene when everyone is feeling calm again.
  • Do not scream, shout, call your parents names, anything that will anger them and make you look immature.
  • Do not cry to try and convince them to say yes. This is called manipulation and parents are experts in detecting manipulation. It will also show that perhaps you are not mature enough to take on the responsibilities of taking dance lessons independently.
  • Do not throw a fit or demand that your parents need to say yes to you. This will most likely get you sent to your room.
  • No kicking or temper tantrums either, you are not a toddler!
  • Do not stomp off to your room if your parents upset you. Instead, you could say ‘I need time to process your response’ and ask if you can go to your room.
  • Do not lie to them or otherwise tell them what you think they want to hear in order to get them to say yes. You will get caught out, get in even more trouble and saying yes will definitely be off the table for you then!

Any of these things to not do will result in negative consequences. Your parents might even ban you from dancing or ask you to never talk about it again because they don’t like how you behave or treat them when you do. That would be exactly the opposite of what you would want.

Things you should Do!

These are some things you should do automatically when having this sort of conversation with your parents.

  • Be polite. Not obviously fake polite but use your manners with your parents. This can go a long way in getting them to say yes.
  • Be very respectful. You need to show your parents respect to inturn receive respect.
  • Speak calmly and in a regular tone that remains non-demanding.
  • Tell them the truth. Be straight forward about everything related to dancing. Let them know all of it and what it will entail.
  • If your parents tell you no, do not get upset. Just be calm and say that you understand and ask them to explain why.

If they still say no, after they explain their reasons, do not push the issue. Ask if you could discuss it again in the future and tell them, for the time being, you will not ask them about it again.

Instead, try to prove them wrong – in a respectful way. Show them you can find a solution to any of their concerns and put into practice what it will take to do this. This does not mean to start going to lessons behind their back, it means to start practicing at home, getting a job or doing extra chores or developing a homework routine all around the hours that you would be taking on dance lessons. Show your parents that you are more grown-up than they think and that you can cope with dance classes and all your other responsibilities. This would show them your maturity and hopefully help to make them change their minds in the future if they said “no.”

About the Author

Samantha Bellerose

Samantha is a wife and mother of four kids aged 1-9. She danced and acted from the age of 5 and performed in film clips, on television, and in musical theatre professionally. She also taught dance, but after leaving the profession to backpack through Europe, Canada and the USA with her husband for three years, she then completed an Education Degree and taught within primary schools in Australia. Today she is a business owner with her husband and the creator and writer for Dance Parent 101 where she hopes her previous experience as a dancer, current experience as a dance parent and the research and writing skills she gained completing her education degree will help enlighten parents on their journey with their child through the world of dance.