There are thousands of people seated in the auditorium. Everyone is alive with energy. You were waiting for this moment for a very long time, and you prepared day and night just for this moment.
The person before you was excellent, and now the people are expecting another stellar performance. And then, it hits you. Your knees become wobbly, your hands start getting cold, and all of a sudden, you are nervous.
You are panicking about facing everyone. And, that is when you realize you have forgotten all your lines. And then…
Your child wakes up from his/her nightmare. Do they dread facing huge crowds too? Is this a bad dream that they worry will come true one day? If yes, then you have come to the right place.
Many children deal with stage fear. And when they are going through this emotional roller coaster, you feel helpless. You want to help them but don’t know-how. Well, let me tell you what you can do and say to help your children overcome stage fear.
Just be yourself.
Your children have a unique personality. When they try to change themselves, they cannot be their own self or the person they were trying to be.
Now, it creates confusion. Confusion leads to panic. They forget what they had prepared too. And then everything is a giant mess. Encourage them to be their own person. When you are on stage don’t focus on what others may or may not be thinking about you.
It is a downward spiral that is going to take them down the ‘anxiety-panic extravaganza’ road from where there will be no U-turn. Just make them think about what they have prepared. Tell them to give their best, and not worry about the rest.
Mistakes are a part of life.
Everyone makes mistakes in life, and it is okay. No one is perfect. There is nothing to worry. Your child needs to know it. They need to know that even if we make mistakes, life doesn’t end there. Making a mistake is not the issue.
How you deal with the consequences and what you learn from them is crucial. Your children look up to you. They draw inspiration from your experiences.
So, if you have ever dealt with such an experience, where you had to overcome your stage fear, but failed to do so, then you need to tell them that story. Just knowing in theory that ‘it is going to be okay’ is not enough.
They need to see the proof. It will give them the confidence to face their fear as well as go through with the consequences if they falter.
Try until you succeed.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”- Thomas Edison.
Your children don’t have to get it right the first time. Everybody has to try again and again. But, there is a catch here. They have to learn from their past blunders and work on it in the next attempt.
It is okay to fail multiple times, provided that the reason for failure is not the same every time. So, if they are trying it for the hundredth time, then they need to have a hundred different reasons for each try.
Your children will have the temptation to give up. But, you have to encourage them to keep going. You need to convince them to do it just ‘one more time’ every time they are ready to give up.
And they never know, maybe they were just one performance away from becoming perfect when they decided to quit.
Practice makes a man perfect.
“To become really good at anything, you have to practice and repeat, practice, and repeat, until the technique becomes intuitive.” – Paulo Coelho.
Nothing gives you more confidence than knowing that you have practiced a lot for it. When we are underprepared, we have self-doubt in our mind that keeps saying, “you are going to forget it,” repeatedly in the same rhythm.
But, when it has become second nature for you, the fear of forgetting reduces significantly. Also, just learning it by heart is not going to be enough.
You need to understand your content too. For example, if you have just mugged it up without giving it an ounce of thought, you will be blank if you forget a word in between. When you practice a lot, you don’t have to focus on remembering your part.
All you have to do is keep giving your hundred percent but also have the presence of mind to do any damage control if you hit a snag.
So, your children need to learn their bit to perfection. We don’t have everything in our control. But whatever we can do, we must do it with a hundred percent efficiency.
Teach them calming exercises.
Before your child’s performance, their nerves may be going to be all over the place. They are going to have a lot of nervous energy.
Now, having it is not bad. But, they need to learn how to channel it. There are many exercises that you can teach your child that will help them keep their calm in the face of their fear.
When your children are already afraid of doing something, an unstable mind multiplies this fear a thousand times. It will unnecessarily complicate everything for your child.
So, you need to train your child to get a hold of their nerves and use the energy whenever they want. Once they master the technique, they have won half the battle even before fighting it.
Share stories of people who have overcome similar situations.
Many people have achieved remarkable success by overcoming their fears. And, they become an inspiration to all of us.
Introduce your children to such icons who have lived a life that is a lesson in itself. They can take inspiration from them and apply it in their life. Now, it doesn’t mean that they have to copy their every move.
They can take the approach the role model had and apply it to their lives in a manner that is suitable for them.