Zumba Kids & Zumba Kids Jr is the program that replaced Zumbatomic, in order to divide the work into two age groups, 4-6 and 7-11, as it wasn’t that defined in Zumbatomic.
I have started teaching this program in January this year, and I wasn’t really sure how to deal with kids when it comes to physical activities and socializing among children groups. Time definitely teaches you how to connect with children and how to understand them, and how to make yourself understood to them as well.
I agree generally with the program rules in terms of children safety comes first, whoever drops the child off should be the one to pick them up, the instructor should be superior in front of the children, with of course a friendly manner, innocence in dressing and behaving in order not to affect children in a wrong way, plus sticking to children songs rather than common and popular pop songs that might not suite a child’s mind and interest.
Unfortunately late in February I came across health complications and I had to quit my job, due to joints inflammation, I’m not yet sure about the diagnoses, but I hope it’s not an autoimmune disease like RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis). But I had to stay at home for 3 months since at the beginning I wasn’t being able to walk or stand up, and I was on many medication and regular check ups. By the time I started walking a bit I decided to continue teaching kids to dance and play around with them as much as I could. My other classes were all cancelled, like Body Combat, Body Pump, etc.
For almost two months my only activities besides swimming was Zumba Kids, it was hard and painful and demanding to me, although Zumba Kids is one of these programs that don’t demand too much physical efforts, but rather mental focus and socializing with the kids. But the kids always make things up to you when you’re tired, sick, sad and depressed, with their smiles and laughter, with their jokes and games, with their creativity and sensitivity and with their innocence and smartness.
My kids taught me a lot of things, those who are healthy and others who have special circumstances, each one of them taught me something, they are too short tempered yet happy, their lives aren’t full of burdens yet but they have their own small problems, that to us is nonsense but to them they could bring tears to their eyes.
I tried my best to teach them how to use their bodies to express something, not to be shy, to make friends, to compete and challenge themselves and others, to behave to impress, and to talk clearly and understood. I tried my best to highlight unnecessary manners like selfishness, rudeness and gossiping, and I always enjoyed seeing them working in teams and over come their feelings of dislike towards each other.
My journey with kids has been always cool and happy, sometimes some of them think I’m as old as they are, and share with me their ideas that I find always amusing and interesting.
What impressed me the most is that, I couldn’t do much at the beginning since my physical abilities were somehow limited, but later I came to notice that working with kids was some sort of physical rehabilitation for me, since the moves are simple and relatively slow compared with programs taught for adults. In a matter of a month with the kids I managed to dare and say yes! I want to go back slowly to work, teach some classes that don’t necessarily need all my energy like maybe ABS or Circuit Training.
During summer break many sport centers start summer camps for kids and I was asked to teach Zumba for kids, I hesitated a little bit because the schedule was packed, I had to do three hours in a row twice a week, but I agreed at the end. Those hours with the kids were the actual rehabilitation for me, at some point during the summer camp I went back to teaching Body Pump, and now I teach Body Combat, Zumba and all the other programs that I enjoy.
Thanks to my kids who taught me how to walk and run again, smile and laugh and have hope, and feel really young again, as Marita said: “We are cool, because we are real kids”, thinking I’m a kid just like she is.
Dealing with kids was never my favorite thing to do. As I didn’t have enough patience in general, and for them precisely. But with time my patience stretched itself to become wider than before. Kids are indeed the small versions of adults, but in a vulnerable way. They are smart, open, sensitive, joyful, playful, cheerful, curious, considerate, and positive. Unlike adults they learn faster, whether academically or socially, and their tempers are also shorter; not necessarily in a bad way, a child’s action and reaction are quite fast and short lasting. Which means it’s easy to deal with. Kid’s have their own worlds of imagination, they do create their own fantasies and they do like to live in their own bubbles when they have a chance to, and this is absolutely beautiful, since imagination helps them understand people and things around them, and of course themselves better.
It is very important to look at any child as a very important investment, and to take in mind that whatever input they get now ,the output in the future will be reflected, sooner than we expect. What I like about kids, besides being innocent, is their observation skills, and how their brains are made like sponge, they absorb everything they hear, see and notice. Therefore we should be careful around them, seriously careful.
Noticing a child’s talents and skills is their parents huge responsibility, and whatever skills and talents they have must be taken in consideration, in order to expand them and help the child reach out for something new, and something they can benefit from either in the present time, or in their future or both.
So how’s dealing with kids a positive necessary experience?
I’m not saying I’m ready to have a child but for me, my work obliges me to deal with adults on daily basis, which means massive amounts of stress, headache and pressure, sometimes for a reason and sometimes for nothing. Not everyone you meet at work is a sweetheart! right? So when comparing dealing with kids and dealing with adults, kids do relief stress with their spirit as children, with their joy and laughter, besides their problems and worries are relatively small and can be solved in no time. Unlike adults, since some adults like to live their problems and worries as a never ever ending drama movie, or maybe they do have serious problems and issues that actually cannot be easily solved.
I disagree with parents who say children and demanding and needy! STOP here for a second! You either spoiled them too much, or they need you because they are helpless and without you they cannot be or do, and being a parent it is your responsibility to help them in certain subjects to a certain extent, plus being a parent means you wanted to bring these kids to life not that they asked you to, so please? On the other hand, adults are needy and demanding while they are capable of doing everything by themselves, of course we are talking about healthy adults here.
Children have no hidden agendas, and they don’t have bad intentions, I’m talking about the majority of kids. And in case you hurt a child with or without intention you’ll soon find it out, as they are open and cannot hide their feelings. So again kids are easy to deal with, because it’s easy to understand what happened to them and what they want and what they don’t want. While adults in general do have hidden agendas, bad intentions and are able to hide their feelings; either to protect themselves or hurt others.
Kids are curious in a good way, not that they can control it, it’s part of their nature, and this is why they learn and absorb info. That means if they like a certain person they consider them their prefect reference. How cool is that? So If you are cheerful and happy, even if you have to fake it or pretend it for their sake to keep them happy, and have something new to say or show they do listen, process and apply, and take you as a role model. This by itself helps you learn how to behave, decide what to say, and what not to do, and it does affect you positively to feel like a super hero for a child. And that is not what you may get from adults, as every adult believes they are a super hero (lol) and so they do not need other super heroes around (double lol)!
The more you live the more you miss your childhood days! Yes! I have noticed that. And yes I do know and understand that today’s children have complete different childhoods than we had. But still they are still inside their childhood zones, so keeping in touch with them means keeping in touch with your own childhood in a way or another, which is very very cool and interesting.
And so, how’s teaching kids to Play the Piano ( or any other instrument or skill) a perfect therapy?
Well, during the piano class, I chill and relax, I explain things in so many ways until things are clear. You may wonder how can someone chill and relax while teaching a class of anything? Well If I compare what I do at work and what I do at home for the kids, then yes I do have a chance to chill and relax during a piano class, unlike when I teach a class at the gym! makes a difference right? So the piano class is a physical relaxation therapy session. Plus I keep the atmosphere friendly during the class, because I don’t want students, I want students who are my friends, even if they are maybe decades younger than me.
During my piano classes, I keep in mind all the things that I hated when I was a piano student and I don’t apply them in my class. Example, I hated so much in summer school holidays the fact that I couldn’t use any nail polish because my piano teacher back then forbade us from using such things, saying: YOU MUST LOOK ELITE LIKE A LADY. Ok well-done! I agree! a pianist is an elite person who looks well and behaves well. BUT!! school kids don’t have a chance to do things like nail polish, let hair loose, use fake tattoos on arms and shoulders, wear jeans pants or shorts. And this goes on almost the whole year. So if I had a student coming to play the piano with their slippers, I do not mind, because these are kids, and maybe they were swimming before they came to me, so I’m cool cool with that. One of my piano students is 5 years old, and she doesn’t notice how she sits down properly at the beginning of the class, and as time passes by and her concentration level goes up her feet automatically lay underneath her, or she crosses her legs and plays the piano. If I did that when I was a child I would have been scolded biiiiiig big time! But hey! That is just a child who is trying to focus, why make it harder? So here I’m breaking old rigid rules from my past that I hated and I smile while I let those rules break one by one! SET OUR KIDS FREE! Yes please.
Listening to kids hitting the keys trying to make the thing they are playing sound like proper music is fantastic and fascinating. Their little hands and fingers can actually do so much, they do impress me a lot to be honest, I haven’t been around kids for so long, up until I decided that I want to teach how to play the piano again. I actually did in the past and I stopped since I had no patience for kids.That does make me think deeper of a human’s physical and mental structure and PRAISE THE LORD! 😀
Looking at their facial gestures changing as they get excited by being successful or unsatisfied by making mistakes helps me each day see behind their faces, and that helps me know how to let them get over their weaknesses. That leads to understanding adults through children. And it is indeed a necessity.
Teaching a kid something they want to learn, helps you motivating yourself to get up and go learn something you’ve always wanted to learn, or to do something you’ve always wanted to do. How? Because when I sit for an hour motivating a child to do what they came for, I realize that yes I’m a motivator so why not to motivate myself? Nothing stops me!
Life sometimes can be rigid and boring, the routine can be a killer, and running in a hamster’s wheel is something I refuse to do for long periods. So teaching kids to play the piano is something that breaks my routine, and for that reason, I try my best not to make the class rigid, lame, pressuring or boring; for my sake and for the children’s.
The fact that you teach a child something (good) and them being successful doing is a very big reward for you! If they succeed it means you also succeeded. So that is also another good reason why adults should teach kids something good and wait for the results, to evaluate themselves as successful or unsuccessful creators.
A note to adults!
Keep your kids busy with good and useful things. I hear adults on daily basis complaining saying they are bored. Boredom is destructive for the body, the mind and the soul. And teaching people since childhood to get busy will guarantee them being busy their entire lives.
I might have sounded sarcastic in some parts of this post, but I’m sorry that is my personality. At least I hope you enjoyed reading.