No matter what age you are, overcoming stage fright or performance anxiety can be a huge task. The thought of getting up on stage and performing becomes very daunting if you are conscious of all the things that could go wrong. For children, it may be even worse as they have less experience being on a stage and will have no idea how to deal with the fight or flight response of trembling hands, sweats, nerves, or anxiety.
Helping your children overcome performance anxiety at a young age can be hugely beneficial for their self confidence in the long run and will set them on the right track to becoming excellent performers and public speakers. Read on for some tips and techniques on how to help your child overcome stage fear so they can feel confident and assured the next time they perform, whether in a choir recital, school play, or any public speaking event!
Help Them Visualize a Successful Performance
One of the main culprits of stage fright is self-doubt and a fear of giving a horrible performance. Visualization is a technique to help your child feel more confident and prepared for their upcoming performance. Encourage your child to close their eyes and imagine themselves performing their piece in the exact way they want to in real life. If they have any idea in their head about how the performance could go perfectly, it will help them feel more assured once they actually attempt it. Focusing on a successful outcome rather than a failed one will support your child immensely in the lead-up to getting on stage.
Rehearse, Practice, and Prepare
There is no way to better assure a confident, flawless performance than putting in enough time for practice. The more your child is familiar with something, the more comfortable and confident they will feel when having to perform it in front of an audience. Take time to sit with your child as they rehearse their piece and encourage them to practice regularly in a safe space such as their bedroom or your family living room.
As they begin practicing, you could also help your child focus on specific parts of their performance, so they do not feel overwhelmed trying to memorize everything at once. Once they feel confident about each segment of the routine, you can help them piece it together. Make sure to clap and give positive feedback whenever your child rehearses in front of you.
To expose your child to a wider audience, encourage them to practice in front of other family members or friends so they can feel more prepared ahead of the big day.
Try Deep Breathing and Relaxation Exercises
If you notice that your child is having an especially hard time managing stage fright, such as experiencing tight throat, trembling hands, or sweats, guide them through some deep breathing exercises and relaxation techniques.
Breathe slowly and deeply through the nose and let out a long exhale through the mouth. This technique helps ease rapid breathing and calms a racing pulse caused by excess nerves. Practicing deep breathing on a regular basis leading up to the performance can help them feel less nervous and approach their show day with a clearer, more relaxed mindset.
If you are dealing with a slightly older child, they may be able to understand and practice some simple meditation techniques to relax their body and mind. This may even have a greater positive effect on their overall mental health and any social anxiety they might be experiencing, as they will now have new ways to deal with their stress hormones.
Dress Your Child Comfortably
Even if your child is expected to wear a costume for their performance, you should make sure that their outfit is well-fitted and enables them to move around comfortably. Avoid letting them wear anything tight-fitting or restrictive, whilst also ensuring no sleeves or trousers are too long or loose. If your child is wearing something uncomfortable, this could cause them to feel more anxious and affect their focus. When your child feels good about the outfit they are wearing, they will be able to perform with higher confidence levels and move around freely.
Encouragement Goes a Long Way
Of course, the most important thing you can do as a parent to help your child overcome stage fright is to give them plenty of encouragement and positive vibes. Make sure to give your child a motivating pep talk and a hug before they go on stage. Remind them that you’ll be right there in the audience smiling and clapping at how wonderful their performance is!
Book a Kids Class with SeanyMac Studios
We hope the above tips were able to help your child overcome stage fear in time for their performance or recital! If your child is currently conquering stage fright and you are unsure how to help further, enroll them in a kids singing class at SeanyMac Studios. Our professional vocal coaches will welcome your child warmly. As part of our coaching method, we will find out how stage fright affects your child’s specific performance skills to combat their fear and rid themselves of performance anxiety once and for all! Get in touch with SeanyMac Studios and sign up for a kids class today.