For many families, the end of summer and start of the school year mean a return to those old familiar routines: early morning alarms, carpools, after-school sports, drive-through dinners on busy homework nights.
No one celebrates this time of year better than America’s favorite parody family!
Cute and fun for families with young children. But for parents of a certain age, back to school means an empty nest, and that can be a big space to fill. Those who have dropped their youngest child at college now find themselves with more time and fewer family demands. And that can be challenging for couples used to the rhythms of the school year.
According to the Mayo Clinic, studies from several years ago indicated some parents felt such a deep sense of loss when their last child left home, they were vulnerable to all kinds of mental health issues: marital problems, depression, a loss of identity.
But newer research shows the opposite can be true as well. The last child leaving can reduce conflicts parents have between work and family obligations. The empty nest can also give parents the space to reconnect with each other, pursue long-lost interests, and discover new passions.
With no more weeknight homework, and no weekend sports or arts activities with the kids, parents can find creative ways to fill their free time. One activity that has proven mental and physical health benefits is dancing. Specifically, freestyle partner dancing where one dancer leads and the other must spontaneously follow.
You don’t have to be in tip top shape to be a phenom on the dance floor—check out this guy who gets his sexy on – supersized!
Dancing requires physical movement, coordination, balance and a measure of musicality. All of those elements factor into increased mental well being for middle-aged dancers. Add to that the sheer fun and familiarity couples experience as they dance, and you have a winning combination for a happy home life once the kids fly the coop.
And here’s a great idea! How about ballroom dancing at school? Check out these kids and the fun they are having showing off their ballroom dance skills at their high school gym!
Looking to find a new passion and purpose in your life as an empty nester? Or would you love to move on the dance floor like the teens at Sir Wilfrid Laurier? Call or stop by your nearest Fred Astaire Dance Studio, or visit fredastaire.com to learn how you can!