Upstaging Anxiety: 4 Steps To Help Kids Overcome Stage Fright
Written By: Kayla Colbert | February 8, 2020
Help your child say “Goodbye!” to stage fright with these key tips and strategies!
Every summer at Performing Arts Workshops, we support and encourage hundreds of children who are passionate, aspiring performers. While some kids naturally flock to the spotlight, many children struggle with the idea of performing in front of a crowd. It could be that your introverted daughter has the voice of a nightingale, but the thought of singing underneath the bright lights in front of a full house makes her knees lock. However, pre-show jitters are totally normal, and many of Hollywood and Broadway’s biggest stars have confessed to spells of stage fright throughout their professional careers.
A little anxiety is no reason to keep your future star from the stage. Here are a few simple tips to get your child out of their head and into the scene:
1. COMMUNICATE WITH THE DIRECTOR
Your child’s best line of defense against stage fright is a good, honest relationship with their summer camp director. You may think that disclosing your child’s nerves to a director might prevent the director from casting your child with a more challenging part in the show, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A great director never casts a child in a part that would increase discomfort. Instead, the director will take the time to get to know your child, and if they notice that your child isn’t comfortable being completely alone on stage, then they’ll be sure to give your child moments to shine in the group numbers. The director will be your child’s guide as they dip their toes into the pool of performing arts.
2.PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
Stage fright happens to the best of entertainers, but one of the most foolproof ways to prevent it from turning into a full-blown fear is to practice, practice, practice! Anxiety has a way of making people believe that the worst-case scenario is the most likely scenario, and the best way to prepare for anything onstage is to rehearse the script inside and out. Your child is sure to get tons of practice at camp, but if they’re particularly tense, be sure to put in some additional practice with them at home. Those extra minutes of running lines with you every day will make a huge difference toward calming their fears.
3. FUEL UP ON GOOD, CLEAN FOODS AND DRINKS
4. THINK POSITIVE
Mental preparation is just as crucial as physical preparation, and keeping a positive mindset is essential to curbing your child’s nerves. Exercises that will gather and focus their thoughts like visualization can be helpful for some people. Make sure to tell lots of jokes and fun stories on the car ride to camp on show day—keeping the conversation light and pleasant will shift their attention away from any stress. A great way for you to get your child thinking positive is to give them a thoughtful note backstage. Before the show, have the camp director pass on your written messages of love and pride. Reading your warm words will help your child shed any last-minute angst and put them in a confident headspace as they take the stage.
Stage fright is incredibly common (it’s no wonder that public speaking routinely ranks as the world’s most common fear), and your child will likely face it in different situations throughout their life, from classroom speeches to school performances to boardroom presentations as adults. At the end of the day, it’s important for your child to know that they’re not alone, and that even the most outwardly poised child’s heart races when they hear their cues. Confidence is not an inherent characteristic, but a muscle—the more you use it, the stronger it is, and the smaller the anxiety becomes. And, with you in the audience, cheering them on through every performance, there’s no limit to how strong they’ll become.
Performing Arts Workshops ~ the ultimate ARTS experience.
Part Art…Part Play…ALL FUN!