How to Help Your Child Get Over Stage Fright

List: Posted: 05/03/11

Very few people are able to get up in front of a group and speak without at least some trepidation.  In fact, fear of public speaking is the number one fear of people in America – even more so than the fear of death.  So, if your child has a case of stage fright, whether it's in a beauty pageant or a school play, it's definitely natural.  However, there are ways that you can help your little one get over that fear.

 

Perhaps the best way that you can help your little one get over stage fright is to emphasize how much fun the experience will be.  Talk about the activity as though it will be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences for your child in the school year.  Help get your child enthused about the play or pageant.  Have them perform their part in front of grandparents or family members (who are sure to give them a nice round of applause afterward) for an extra confidence boost.

 

For the really dedicated young actor or performer, acting classes will go a long way in increasing their confidence.  Most local community centers may have drama classes they can join for free, which will give them support from their own peer group.

 

One great tip is to rent or buy your child a cheap video camera and show them how to use it, so they can tape their own performance and watch it as many times as they like before the event.  This will help their memory, and show them that they don't look or sound as bad as they may think they do.  A low-cost alternative would be to set up a webcam on your computer, and set it so they show up live on the computer screen. They will have a lot of fun capturing their performance and watching it, or sharing it with their friends for a bit of instant feedback.

 

Also, beware of setting overly high expectations for the event.  Too much talk about the upcoming event and how much everyone is looking forward to it can actually make your child's stage fright even worse.  The more you hype it up, the bigger it becomes in your child's mind.  Keep it fun, exciting and relaxed.  Remember, it is for your child, no matter how well you want him or her to do. Make every effort to help your child be comfortable, and to understand that they do not have to live up to any imposed expectations.

 

Finally, giving your child a good dose of reassurance that he or she will do "just fine" will go a long way toward beating stage fright.  With a reassuring, helpful parent, stage fright doesn't need to be a crippling force in your child's life. 

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