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07 Oct, 2022
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Stage Fright

Stage Fright – H&S Education & Parenting

Stage Fright: How To Help Your Child Combat Stage Fear

Have you noticed your child gets nervous, fearful or stresses just before a recital, play, class presentation or school concert? Though some children love having all eyes on them, not all children feel the same. Performance anxiety is common in children, who typically get stage fright before performing in front of an audience, which usually begins during the early years of their life which can be seen as tears, tantrums and tummy aches and can last well into adulthood, paralysing older children as well. As a parent, it’s important to understand that some nervousness is absolutely normal, but when it begins to impact the child’s normal functioning, which is usually most evident at home, you know that’s not normal. There are multiple factors that play at hand when it comes to stage fright, the personality of the child, genetics (i.e. a child born to anxious parents is more likely to exhibit it) & learned behaviours, which usually stems from a negative experience a child has had directly or indirectly such as a displeased or dissatisfied crowd during a previous performance. If you want to learn how you can help your child combat stage fright, keep reading!

7 Tips To Help Your Child Combat Stage Fear:

1. Talk About It, Don’t Avoid It- The first step in helping your child deal with performance anxiety is to explain to your child what they’re experiencing, but in a way they understand it. For example, part of your brain understands there’s no danger and nothing to be afraid of, while the other part believes there’s danger and hence overreacts. So relaxing, meditating, deep breathing can help calm that part of the brain during the situation. It’s very important to not brush stage fright off saying ‘you will be fine’ but rather acknowledge the situation and help your child figure out how to cope with it.

2. Practice Makes Perfect- The best way to reduce the stage fright is to practice with your child. You can let them practice in front of a mirror, stuffed toys, with you, then once they’re used to the idea, slowly introduce other siblings or family members & friends. The best way to overcome stage fright is to practice in front of an audience.

3. Let Them Know ‘No One Is Perfect’- By reminding your child that everyone makes mistakes, you allow them to let loose and bring down any unrealistic expectations they have for themselves, which may lead to disappointment and loss of confidence.

4. Encourage Them & Be Positive- You should be your child’s number one cheer leader. Be positive about their presentation, recital, concert etc, as this can set the attitude for their performance. No matter what, encourage your child and let them know you are there for them, cheering them on. It’s not about being the best speaker or performer, it’s about praising their hard work and effort for trying. Your attitude and involvement can really help your child combat their fear.

5. Include Daily Affirmations- If you include daily affirmations which involves repeating positive phrases to ourselves either aloud or silently can help improve by eradicating the negative thoughts and feelings that can hinder the performance. For example, looking in the mirror and repeating: ‘I got this’, ‘I am brave’, ‘I am fearless’, ‘I can do this’, ‘I am strong’ can help strengthen self-confidence.

6. Train Them To Keep Calm & Focused- Use techniques such as breathing exercises, meditation & laughter, to help them remain calm. Also teach them to look at the back of the room, instead of focusing on the audience when performing, as that helps them keep calm and focused, without worrying about the audience.

7. Get Public Speaking Lessons/Professional Coach- Public speaking is a skill that can be taught. There’s no harm in getting your child enrolled in public speaking classes or getting them one-to-one coaching lessons that will train your child and boost his/her confidence, as well as, acclimatize your child to speaking in front of others.

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