It’s Winter and our kids’ time is primarily spent inside. If you’re a family with little ones, you know what that means — your kids have a LOT of energy! On top of that, they probably have fewer outlets for spontaneous exercise. It’s scientifically proven that dancing helps promote bonding, builds social connections, releases endorphins and other feel-good hormones, and provides an easy way to fit some extra exercise into your day. As the University of Oxford psychologist Dr. Bronwyn Tarr says, the benefits of dancing for humans of all ages are so numerous that “We should all dance more.” So what better tradition to start in the winter than a daily family Kitchen Dance Party?
What is a Kitchen Dance Party?
A kitchen dance party is when you take a certain amount of time each day (say 10-15 minutes) and you turn your kitchen into a full-on dance zone. Or you can do it in the living room, on the patio, in the playroom, or in every room all at once — the choice is yours! You can keep it simple by just pumping tunes into a Bluetooth speaker or really go for it, flip the lights off, and turn on some kind of disco light machine you keep nearby for the occasion. However you do it, you can bond with your family over favorite songs (and have dedicated theme days for fave artists) while you and your kids create a fun routine to schedule some dance into your day!
As it turns out, there are numerous incredible mental, physical, and social benefits of fitting in a bit of dance time each day. Here are just a few of the reasons you should consider firing up our Spotify playlist and making kitchen dance parties a part of your life:
It will definitely help your family bond
Jason G. Goldman of Scientific American recently published an article entitled “Why Dancing Leads to Bonding” in which he discussed all the reasons that dancing with others can be so beneficial for humans. Goldman mentions studies that prove dancing in groups leads to social bonding, which is perhaps why dancing is part of so many traditions related to important times in our lives. But dancing doesn’t need to be just for special occasions, it’s bonding benefits happen anytime you find time to shake your stuff, even if it’s just while cooking a meal together!
Part of the bonding comes from the hormones dance helps to release
Actually, just about any form of exercise releases hormones that help encourage bonding, but doing so through dance comes with the added other benefits from dance, like the happiness we feel when moving in sync with the music and when mirroring other people. There are lots of ways that releasing endorphins is good for the body and mind, and dance helps us to do just that — all while making humans feel closer to each other.
Endorphins help fight pain and exhaustion — so dancing can be a pick-me-up
If you’ve been having a long day and everyone has been a little grumpy, dance can be a great way to turn things around. Combine that with the good feeling one gets from listening to music and moving with others and it seems clear why dancing is so great. A kitchen dance party is a great way to battle mid-afternoon blahs or get a second wind before a big evening. Your kids will love it, too, since it will feel like a moment they’re free to just play and be kids!
The benefits of dance are scientifically proven
Dr. Tarr researches dance and has found that the benefits occur on so many levels that it’s basically good for all humans. That means that when you encourage your kids to dance and join in with them, all of you are benefiting from doing so. If you integrate kitchen dance parties into your life, there’s a good chance that your entire family will be happier and healthier for it. And it’s so fun that it will be easy to want to do often!
Dancing is basically magic — it boosts self-esteem and even helps heal psychological trauma!
Some of the studies Dr. Tarr mentions suggest that “dancing may help people recover from psychological trauma or physical injury” and that “dancing can improve fitness and reduce stress, as well as boost mood and self-esteem.” She even said that learning to dance helped patients with Parkinson’s move and balance better while also reducing their depression. So even during rough days, dancing in the kitchen can be a great way to escape what’s going on all around and just enjoy being in your body for a few minutes.
Dancing makes you feel happy
Another scientist who has researched how dancing makes you happy is University of Hertfordshire’s Dr. Peter Lovatt. He says, “For many people, dancing prompts an emotional release – often that’s uncomplicated happiness, while for some it can make them cry. It’s cathartic – a letting go of pent-up emotions.” And again, some of that pure happiness comes from the bonding dancing promotes. Lovatt adds, “It’s scientifically proven that dancing helps with social bonding…The synchrony involved in dancing to a beat along with other people is a powerful way for humans to connect.”
It’s good for the body
Besides the benefits dance gives us as exercise, Lovatt explains that its benefits for bodies go beyond just physical exertion. “Modern living often leaves us feeling disconnected from our bodies because we spend so much time sitting down and hooked up to technology. Dancing makes you feel good because it makes you feel so alive.” Disconnecting from modern life and moving to a beat stokes good feels deep within us, even if you just spend a few minutes getting your groove on while you do the dishes.
Kitchen dance parties are the perfect way for you to make dance a part of your life, and to help you raise even happier, healthier kids. We’d LOVE to see a video of your own Kitchen Dance Party, so share it with us on Facebook or Instagram!