4 ways to help your child’s performance anxiety

October 31, 2018
  • Does he have stage fright?
    1 / 5 Does he have stage fright?

    It’s time of the year when preschools start preparing for their annual concerts, but not all children love the limelight. Here’s how you can help your little one deal with stage fright and performance anxiety.  

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  • Discuss his performance fears
    2 / 5 Discuss his performance fears

    Remind him that it’s normal to feel a little anxious about performing for the first time, says Ho Shee Wai, psychologist and director of The Counselling Place

    “Empathise with him, but also go over what he’s really afraid of – is it forgetting his lines or being in front of a large crowd? Address each of his concerns individually and encourage him to feel excited about doing something new. 

    “Teach him a jingle or song that he can sing to himself before going on stage, to help him calm his nerves. And teach him strategies to deal with various situations, such as if his mind goes blank, or if he trips and falls.” 

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  • Practice makes perfect
    3 / 5 Practice makes perfect

    “The best way to prepare him for his first concert is through gradual exposure to performing publicly,” says Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist from Dr BL Lim Centre For Psychological Wellness at Gleneagles Medical Centre. 

    “Get him to rehearse in front of Mum and Dad to begin with, and then bring other members of the family into the audience to get him used to preforming in front of many people.” 

    Shee Wai says to visit the performance venue a few times to get Junior used to the idea of performing there. If possible, get a copy of the script from the teacher that you can use to practise with him at home. 

    “Break up what he needs to remember into manageable steps, help him make associations that will enable him to remember his lines, and teach him how to pick up cues to tell what’s coming next.” 

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  • Help him deal with disappointment
    4 / 5 Help him deal with disappointment

    Instead of getting the lead role, Junior’s been cast as in inanimate object with no lines. Now he’s lost all his enthusiasm for the event. 

    Dr Lim says to acknowledge his disappointment and remind him that you’re still proud of him. “Make it clear that participation is the most important thing and explain his role as an inanimate object brings value to the production.”

    “Every character and prop has a purpose in a show,” adds Shee Wai. “Explain to him that all of these have to work together to make the show a success.” 

    You can also bring up the speaking rocks in Frozen, or the Puss in Boots character in Shrek, to illustrate the importance of supporting roles. 

    “Even if your child is just an object or has a role behind the scenes, encourage him to do his best and, most important of all, have fun.” 

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  • Give him a round of applause
    5 / 5 Give him a round of applause

    Even if your little one forgot his lines or messed up his dance steps, give him a hug after the performance and congratulate him on a job well done. 

    “Tell him that making mistakes is okay, but also explain how he can learn from them in order to be better next time,” says Shee Wai. “Point to the applause at the end to show him that the audience loved his performance, too.”

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

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