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.