Dancing With Littles Vol. 2

I hope you have all been able to find time to dance with your little ones. If you missed the Dancing With Littles Volume 1 playlist, you can get it here. I have been playing volume 1 while making dinner and cleaning. The music definitely helps move me along with tasks. Bopping my head or bouncing to a rhythm has made cleaning and disinfecting a little more pleasurable, or maybe tolerable is the word I’m looking for.

We have kept up with our dance parties over here. Last week, we danced in the dark with flashlights and disco light. This week we took dancing outdoors with some of my dance/movement props. There’s always some form of movement over here, even if it’s rolling around on the floor.

Movement happens on a spectrum from breath to spontaneous dance. Whether you are moving through breath, going out for a walk, or dancing, I hope one of these songs can bring you some joy during the difficult time of physical distancing.

Dancing With Littles Vol. 2 features both new and old school tunes again. I have rated each song and listed any necessary advisories so you can review the lyrics before dancing with your littles if you wish.

Click here to listen to Dancing With Littles Vol. 2 directly on Spotify.

Song: We’ve Got It Goin’ On
Artist: Backstreet Boys
Rating: G

Song: I See Love
Artist: Jonas Blue, Joe Jonas
Rating: G

Song: Remember The Time
Artist: Michael Jackson
Rating: G

Song: Can’t Stop The Feeling
Artist: Justin Timberlake
Rating: G

Song: Fun
Artist: Pitbull, Chris Brown
Rating: PG, some sexual content in the verse 2 rap, sexual innuendo in bridge

Song: Thinkin Bout You
Artist: Ciara
Rating: G

Song: Get Down On It
Artist: Kool & The Gang
Rating: G

Song: My Life
Artist: Robin Thicke
Rating: G

Song: Shake It Off
Artist: Taylor Swift
Rating: PG, sassy song about resilience

Song: Spotlight         
Artist: Jennifer Hudson
Rating: PG, describes a controlling relationship

Song: Love Never Left So Good
Artist: Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake
Rating: G

Song: Entourage
Artist: Omarion
Rating: G

Song: Together Again
Artist: Janet Jackson
Rating: G

Song: One Last Time
Artist: Ariana Grande
Rating: PG, describes rekindling an old relationship for one night

Song: Don’t Stop The Music
Artist: Rihanna
Rating: G

Song: The Other Side
Artist: SZA, Justin Timberlake
Rating: G

Song: Titanium
Artist: David Guetta, Sia
Rating: PG, gun metaphors used to describe trials

Let me know if you have a favourite song on the list. Enjoy dancing with your little ones!

In Movement,

Dancing With Littles Vol. 1

I often get asked about the music I use for therapeutic dance/movement groups and about what music I use for teaching preschoolers and young children. Throughout the years, I have had children ask me for music with song content well beyond their years. Often, songs on the radio are not meant for young ears. While songs on the radio are “clean” edits with no coarse language, it does not necessarily mean the language is not sexually explicit.

Movies and television shows have ratings with cautions like “sexual language and violence,” but songs usually do not come with the same advisories. At most, the word explicit is written beside the song title or on the album cover, but no details are given. I have always been extremely meticulous in choosing music for my classes with children, usually taking hours to create a playlist. I’m happy to curate music and am thrilled to share what keeps me moving.

I used to help parents create playlists on CDs for their children and made my own mixtapes on cassettes (yes, I’m that old). Now that music is digital, I can easily share a song by sending a link to a video or a song.

We have multiple dance parties in my home during the week. My girls and I love gettin’ down to the latest beats. There are only so many times I can listen to Baby Shark or ABCs before my ears need a break. Below you’ll find some of our favourite songs to dance to (both new and old school) that adults can enjoy too. I have also given each song a rating so you can further screen the song lyrics if you wish.

Click here to listen to Dancing With Littles Vol. 1 directly on Spotify.

Song: Motownphilly
Artist: Boyz II Men
Rating: G

Song: Doesn’t Mean Anything
Artist: Alicia Keys
Rating: G

Song: Baby
Artist: Justin Bieber, Ludacris
Rating: G

Song: Someone You Loved
Artist: Lewis Capaldi, Future Humans
Rating: G

Song: Better When I’m Dancin’
Artist: Meghan Trainor
Rating: G

Song: Don’t Start Now
Artist: Dua Lipa
Rating: G

Song: Let’s Groove
Artist: Earth, Wind & Fire
Rating: G

Song: Happy
Artist: Pharrell Williams
Rating: G

Song: Let’s Get Loud
Artist: Jennifer Lopez
Rating: G

Song: Move Your Feet
Artist: Junior Senior
Rating: G

Song: I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)
Artist: Whitney Houston
Rating: G

Song: Viva La Vida
Artist: Cold Play
Rating: PG, poetic language about the rise and fall of kingdoms

Song: Love You Like A Love Song
Artist: Selena Gomez
Rating: G

Song: Latch
Artist: Disclosure, Sam Smith
Rating: G

Song: I’ve Got That Feeling
Artist: Greg Sczebel
Rating: G

Song: Done For Me
Artist: Charlie Puth, Kehlani
Rating: PG, describes feeling unappreciated in a relationship

Let me know if you have a favourite song on the list. I’ll be working on another mix to share this coming week. Enjoy dancing with your little ones!

In Movement,

Join me on Instagram for movement and play invitations.

Volunteer for Spring Break Camps

I’m looking for a volunteer to help me with my upcoming Spring Break Camps. If you want to learn about therapeutic dance/movement while working with children, I’d love to have you join me.

Therapeutic Dance/Movement Camp Volunteer

Therapeutic dance/movement is the use of movement to support the growth, development, and integration of an individual’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive wellbeing. The Dance/Movement Volunteer will perform a variety of tasks to support children ages 3-5 and 6-9. Under the supervision of the Dance/Movement Practitioner, the volunteer will help children with special needs participate in daily activities during camp.

Duties and Responsibilities:
– Daily set/up and take/down of the room.
– Help children with self-help skill such as opening lunches and getting dressed to go outside.
– Fully participate in camp activities (music, dance, art, outdoors, etc.), acting as role model for children.
– Use positive language and demonstrate empathy to help children with socialization skills.
– Assist children in getting to and from the bathroom.
– Ensure safety of the children at all times.
– Report any health and safety concerns to the Dance/Movement Practitioner.

– Minimum of 15 years old.
– Experience working with children ages 3-10.
– Criminal record check clearance including vulnerable sectors.
– Dance, gymnastics, or artistic movement background is an asset, but not required.

Time Commitment:
Week 1: Ages 3-5
Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 20 9:15am-12:15pm daily

Week 2: Ages 6-9
Monday, March 23 to Friday, March 27 9:15am – 1:45pm daily

Send me a message from the contact page!

pregnancy loss awareness

Finding Movement Through Pregnancy Loss

October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. Pregnancy loss occurs in one of every four pregnancies, though is still not often spoken about. Having experienced two miscarriages myself, I can attest to the toll pregnancy loss takes on the body. Unlike how miscarriages are portrayed in the movies, where the character is rushed to the hospital and the scene ends in 10 seconds, a miscarriage can take weeks to complete. Not only can the physical pain be paralyzing, but the emotional pain is equally as immobilizing.

Recent research is revealing that experiencing a miscarriage can cause PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Dr. John Mayer claims, “Miscarriage is an extreme trauma…breaking that trauma down even further, it is physical, emotional, and social” (Mayer, 2016 as cited in Miller, 2016). I agree miscarriage is a multi-layered, complex trauma. Levine (1997) describes PTSD symptoms as “fundamentally, incomplete physiological response suspended in fear” (p. 34). How do we begin to heal when we are feeling suspended, frozen, or trapped within our own bodies? In my experience, healing begins by moving through the pain and fear.

Unfortunately, pregnancy loss and infant loss is still a taboo subject. As a society, we find it difficult to talk about death, especially the death of a child. The societal norm of minimizing pregnancy loss contributes to the lack of movement required in healing. After my first miscarriage, I had no idea what to do with myself. I was in complete shock and felt numb, yet I went to work and carried on with life because I thought I was “supposed” to. In reality, I was experiencing many symptoms other women experience during pregnancy loss:

  • fatigue
  • lack of concentration
  • lack of interest in daily activities
  • loss of appetite
  • isolation
  • low mood/depression
  • anxiety

Miscarriage is hollowing – physically, emotionally, and socially.

The journey to healing has no timeline, nor is it linear. A realistic depiction of healing looks more like a rollercoaster – it goes up, down, around, upside-down, and starts again. Finding healing may be fast or it may be slow. Healing is not linear. Here are a few things I found helpful:

Finding Physical Movement
Though it may be difficult to get physically moving, no movement is too small. While we may think of movement as a large gesture, movement can be as simple as breathing, talking, or writing.

Breathing may sound simple, but when we are in the midst of processing emotions, we often “forget” to breathe. The parasympathetic division of our nervous system helps slow our heart rate and allows the body to rest and heal. One way to activate the parasympathetic system is by intentionally extending your exhale. Box breathing is a technique I have used.

Taking breath-work one step further, you can intentionally send your breath to places in your body that may require breath (ie. ribs, shoulders, or specific organs). When I visualized my breath travelling through my body, the movement of breath is accentuated and tension begins to melt.

Sharing my story was by far the best way to create movement for my grief. Whether it was with friends or my care team, speaking about my experience helped me move through the pain and the fear I embodied. Sometimes it felt as if I was moving backwards, but moving was better than feeling stuck.

miscarriage awareness

Finding Emotional Movement
By allowing myself to talk about the miscarriages, all the emotions associated with the losses were free. I no longer had to suppress my feelings to fit the societal expectations I had imagined.

Dan Siegel claims we must “feel it to heal it.” When we can correctly name our emotions, we begin to calm both physiologically and psychologically. The irony of suppressing my grief, anger, confusion, and shame, was that I was suppressing my healing.

The grief of losing a child is unlike any grief I have ever experienced. Speaking to a professional supported the emotional processing that was too heavy to carry on my own. In addition to the support of a therapist, I was fortunate my doctor initiated regular appointments for miscarriage care and always included mental health as a priority.

Finding Social Movement

Pregnancy loss can be incredibly isolating. Often, we wait until 12 weeks of pregnancy before sharing the news we are expecting. This often leaves women or couples feeling alone to battle the devastation of losing their child during the early stages of pregnancy. Unfortunately, I have learned the sad reality that there is no “safe” time during a pregnancy. The reality is pregnancy losses can happen at six weeks or 36 weeks.

Being supported by a community is what helped my husband and me through our losses. What I learned is people want to help, but don’t know how. When I found the courage to ask for help with a meal or a grocery run, I was overwhelmed by the support. We are thankful for friends and family who often left meals and goodies at our doorstep.

Finding a pregnancy loss support group let me know I was not alone. I met women who shared their losses that happened 20 years ago. It was healing for me to listen to how grief evolved for individuals and how each mother honoured their baby.

No matter where you are in your journey after pregnancy loss, know you are not alone. If you are supporting a loved one through pregnancy loss, know you are not alone. Whether you are taking your first breath to honour your angel baby or have been honouring your angel baby for 20 years, I hope that you make space to acknowledge the unique movement of your healing journey. May you continue to find gentleness and grace for yourself physically, emotionally, and socially.

Levine, P. A. (1997). Waking the tiger: Healing trauma : the innate capacity to transform overwhelming experiences. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books.

Miller, K. (2016). A disturbing amount of women experience PTSD after a miscarriage. Retrieved from https://www.self.com/story/miscarriage-and-ptsd-connection

Siegel, D. (2013, December 8). Dan Siegel: Name it to tame it [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcDLzppD4Jc