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Tips From An Organised Dance Mum

6 Feb 2016 9:58 PMLauren Nairne
Tips From An Organised Dance Mum

I've taught both of Karen's daughters for almost 3 years now and in all my teaching days I have never come across anyone who is as organised as Karen.  A credit to her and her family, she juggles multiple commitments, lots of comps and a full time job in her fmaily owned and operated business.  I have asked her over the years on multiple occasions how she does it all? How she manages it all so well?  I've often said in a few years when Poppy starts dancing i'll be calling her for tips.  Seems I don't need to wait that long, she was kind enough to share her tips with everyone, i'm very grateful!

Lauren xx



When Lauren asked me to write for the blog about being an organised Dance Mum, I thought, Me? Really! (When she asked I actually wasn’t feeling as organised as I normally do). So I sat and had a think about the main tings that do make the crazy eisteddfod season a little more manageable.


Managing Comp Entries

I use a folder with plastic sleeves and print out the schedules and entry forms for all eisteddfods that I am entering or thinking of entering. I put them in Date order and put a sticker on the front of the sleeve with the closing date for entries. I have my own little code to keep track and I tick the date once I’ve sent the entry off then highlight it once the cheque has cleared or the money has come out of my account.


Organising The Whole Family

Whiteboard! Anybody who knows me, knows that I have 2 extra-large whiteboards. One is arranged for the term (or 10 weeks ahead) and the other is a weekly organiser. The 10 week board is a snapshot of what is coming up and has colour coded abbreviations for each child and activity all over it. Whether for Eisteddfods, rehearsals, school functions or workshops it’s all on the board (including birthdays and family commitments because its sooooo easy to double book). This is every bodies first go to when asking if anything is on and if we are asked to something we reference straight to the board. (Of course everything is electronically added to my phone also).


Costume Storage and Organisation

Costumes! We have a current costume rack with each costume in its own separate clear bag with all accessories/tights/shoes/music loaded into the separate pockets and ready just to pick up. We also have a Makeup case (trolley style) stocked with all the essentials and emergency kits from sewing to makeup and extra music/hairspray/nail polish remover/scissors/Hollywood tape and of course bobby pins (full list of items available lol, its extensive). I do also have a fully stocked Dream Duffle that doubles as an overnight bag when we stay away at eisteddfods that cover 2 or more days. This usually stays in the car for me to do a mad dash for any real emergencies the makeup trolley can’t handle!


Staying Healthy For Long Days

Packing to survive the season! I do make sure I have a very healthy lunch/dinner and usually breakfast packed. I do this the night before we leave and if we are staying overnight I also pack plastic containers with cereal portioned just ready to add milk, lots of fruit and cheese and biscuits. If I know the room we are staying in has a microwave I also bring frozen (home cooked) meals to heat up rather than relying on takeaway, (scarily I have been known to take my thermomix when the competition stretches over a week, eg, Bundaberg).


Sort of following on from point 4, the frozen meals. As you can imagine and I’m sure 99% of you already deal with is almost every day, classes and rehearsals. These lead to late nights especially when homework is added each night. I am very lucky that my Dad and Mum cook huge batches regularly of Pumpkin soup and chilli con carne and bolognaise or chicken stews when I don’t have the time and we portion them up in to meal size containers and freeze them. This is great not only to pack in a cold bag to bring away to eisteddfods, but for the late nights getting home. It also means everyone has a choice about what they feel like so adds variety and is healthy.

Karen and her girls!



Have Fun, Don't Stress

I think my last tip is to make it fun and stress free. I have always said to my girls, as soon as it’s not fun or if they start to try and pull the Diva on me, then that’s when we stop. They know this and we really look forward to our road trips to interesting small towns and to the huge competitions. We also like to try new places and eisteddfods each year and this can be daunting and stressful when you don’t know where backstage is or where to hand in the music (or play it yourself!!!), but all I can say is ask someone and don’t be worried about being new, everybody was once and generally everybody is more than happy to help and take you under their wing. We have made lifelong friends this way and look forward each year to going back to see friends made the year before.


I hope this has helped even with a little idea you are not already doing and I welcome any suggestions too. I know some amazing dance mums who have even better ideas and I can’t wait to meet you and catch up over the coming exciting eisteddfod season.




Karen and I at dancing :)