Help Your Tween Prepare for a Middle School Dance

Tips to get prepared and settle nerves

Boy and girl (10-13) dancing at school dance. side view
Nivek Neslo/Taxi/Getty Images

Attending middle school has its perks, and going to school dances is one of them. Many middle schools host school dances. Some may even have several over the course of the school year. Your budding teenager's first school dance is a milestone. Make sure he or she enjoys the event by preparing ahead of time. Here's what your ​tween should know before attending their first school dance:

6 Ways for Your Tween to Prepare for Their First School Dance

  1. Is there a theme? Most school dances have a theme or are held to celebrate a holiday, special event or a season, such as Valentine's Day, homecoming, or spring. Understanding what the theme of the dance is all about will help your tween be more prepared for the big event.
  1. Is there a fee? Many schools charge a nominal fee in order to pay for dance expenses. A fee of approximately $10 per student is fair to expect. Depending on where your child attends school, tickets may be a week or two before, or sold at the door the night of the dance. If your tween has to buy a ticket before the dance, make sure they allow themselves plenty of time. Admission usually covers refreshments like punch and cookies. But don't be surprised if your tween needs a little extra the night of the dance to pay for extra goodies.
  2. Who's invited? Your tween's middle school dance may be open to the entire school, or it might be specific to one grade. These are details your tween can easily learn at school or by asking friends. Small schools may invite students from a neighboring school to the dance in order to share costs and give kids a chance to make new friends and mingle with children from other schools.
  1. Where is it? Most middle school dances are held at school, either in the cafeteria or the gym. Many schools have dance or events committees that decorate for the event, or the school may ask for student volunteers to help set up.
  2. What to wear. 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 guys, and a nice dress works for girls. Casual dances are the easiest to dress for: jeans and a nice shirt or blouse are sure to satisfy the dress code.

    It's important your child know the dance dress code. 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 before of a dress code infraction.

    Be sure your tween knows what he or she is wearing ahead of time, and be sure the clothes are clean and ready to go a few days before the dance. If it's been a while since your child tried on his or her dress up clothing or shoes, it might be worth your time to make sure they still fit. If they don't, you'll have time to shop for something new that works with your budget.
  1. 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, so help your tween prepare. You can expect a lot of Top 40 to be played. It might even be fun to let your child to gather a few friends together to practice some moves.

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