Does Your Child Experience Stage Fright?
Stage fright is a very common experience, not just for adults, but for children as well. Many children enjoy performing in front of an audience, but are held up by fear. Oftentimes, children are simply excited to perform and this nervous energy is misconstrued as fear by adults. Children then associate their adrenaline rush with a negative feeling.
In a sense many children learn to experience stage fright from their teachers, parents, or peers. Stage fright is one of the many issues we address at Gary Spatz’s “The Playground” – a TV/Film conservatory for young adults in Los Angeles, CA.
Even the quietist, most sensitive child that does experience true stage fright can learn to harness their nervous energy and actually use it to augment performance, rather than detract from it. In this series of short articles, I will help you lay out a step by step approach for helping your child deal with stage fright and nervous energy.
The first step in helping your child alleviate stage fright, or even in aiding them to harness positive nervous energy is to help your child to recognize what they are experiencing in the moment. Ask them: What is happening in your body? Your thinking? Aid them in describing in detail what is happening to them in the moment. Are their palms sweating? Are they feeling “wiggly”? Is their breath shallow? Is their brain going a mile a minute? Are they afraid? Excited?
Oftentimes children experience conflicting feelings about performing or getting up in front of an audience to speak. They want to express themselves, but they also feel insecure about having everyone’s undivided attention.
Get them to describe and recognize these feelings in as much detail as possible. By bringing their awareness to these issues, they learn a practical skill in recognizing specifically what is going on. They are then aware of, and can begin to alleviate these uncomfortable or new feelings.
Try to avoid labeling what they are feeling, simply let them express it in their own language, and let their language guide your conversation.