Stage fright could affect everybody, and not the least your young child. Your child might be due to perform onstage and is well-rehearsed for his lines and his actions, but the problem seems to be his tendency to get anxious about going onstage. Be encouraged by the fact that there are many ways that you could help him deal with the situation. Read on for some great tips:
- Visit the stage with your child. One of the best ways to help your child is to let him know what to expect. Chances are, they have had stage rehearsals already, but if possible, go there just with your child at around the same time as the actual performance (say the performance is scheduled to be at 6pm on a Friday, you could go there at 6pm on Monday). You could prepare for the visit as you would the performance.
- Help your child visualize his performance. Once onstage, encourage your child to visualize the audience, and imagine himself performing his entire act before them. Know that many performers and even athletes visualize their entire routine, as they find that this makes them more capable of actually putting it into action.
- Constantly encourage your child. It’s very important that your child knows that he has your unconditional love and support. Let him be confident about his ability to perform, and get him excited about being an actor onstage. This way, his anxiety about performing could just be washed over by his excitement to do his best.
- Teach him some relaxation techniques. A practical way to help your child overcome stage fright is to let him know what to do if he feels an attack of anxiety come over him. Some of these techniques include pausing for a bit to close his eyes and count to ten, and breathing deeply for about five times. Let him know that a short delay in delivering his lines is usually not noticeable, and it could even work to add a dramatic effect to his delivery. The important thing is to let him know that there are things that he could do if he feels an attack coming on.
- Let him watch other performers in action. You could go with your child to watch some plays, preferably those that are performed by other children his age. This way, he could be assured that acting onstage is certainly doable. You could also talk about the performance afterwards, and ask for his opinions about how he would have acted certain parts if it were him onstage. This way, he would feel in a way that he is also capable of acting as the child performer was.
- Let him know that everybody makes mistakes. It’s important that your child realizes that it’s normal for people to make mistakes. If that happens, you could brainstorm on ways that he could cover up his mistakes onstage: if he trips, for example, he could stand up again with a flourish; or if he forgets his lines, he could adlib a little until he gets back to the rhythm of things. Again, the important thing here is that he anticipates what might happen, and how to manage them.
And if he does make a major mistake, it’s still important that he knows it’s not the end of the world; he could think of it as a valuable learning experience, and move on.
Know that as with most other things that your child goes through in his young age, what’s most important is that he is secure in the knowledge that he has your unconditional love and support. This will certainly give him the strength to go through mostly anything in his young life. Good luck!