How Can Children Overcome Stage Fright?
Proper Breathing Techniques
Teach your child diaphragmatic breathing, the kind that actors use. Demonstrate how when he breathes this way, his stomach extends like a balloon, and when he exhales, his stomach flattens again.
Show your child how to project his voice, as this may be a major issue on stage if he is timid or afraid. Demonstrate how his voice gets louder if he raises her hand up, and if he lowers the hand, his voice will become softer. According to Barbara Adoff, the owner of the Act Out drama program for children, if children learn proper breathing techniques it helps them focus on something besides their nerves, and helps them understand how to speak louder.
Practice some exercises with your children, such as having a child make eye contact before throwing a ball to a friend in a circle, or looking at the person next to her while shaking his hand.
These tasks are similar to those used in an improv drama group and help build a child’s self-esteem and confidence. You may add to this by trying some improv dinner theater at home, by having each member answer questions to a creative topic of the day, such as weekend plan ideas or favorite thing they did that day.
Adoff states that everyone needs to practice eye contact while speaking and listening. She says it is important that you really care about what the children are sharing, because that helps in building their confidence as well.
Children need to feel confident before going on stage. Besides the previous techniques, children should attempt to visualize themselves on stage giving a wonderful performance and receiving a stunning applause. If she can envision herself in character, that often helps as well. Above all, she should keep repeating that she will do a good job, and then she will start to believe it.
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