There’s nothing harder than seeing your child feel nervous, anxious or worried. As a parent, we want them to feel confident in themselves and grow as their own little people.
It can be even more stressful to figure out how to give them that sense of self-worth.
Did you know performing arts is one of the most effective ways to empower anxious children and young people? It puts them in a safe and welcoming space alongside other young people with similar interests, letting them grow into a more secure and supported identity.
The performing arts have a lot to offer, but it can do so much for anxious children in particular…
Performing Arts Isn’t Just For The Show Offs
There’s a misconception that performing arts is for the kids who love to be looked at. If your child prefers to stand at the back of a room, you might think that a stage is the last place they’d want to be.
And you’d be right if it was about sticking them under a spotlight and shouting ‘action’. But at Theatretrain, our performing arts training takes a supportive and nurturing approach. There are no extrovert requirements for joining our theatre company, where all personalities are welcomed and encouraged.
Shy kids get to know their peers and build trust. They are given the opportunities to learn, to try on and create characters that can help overcome anxiety. It’s well known that International superstar Beyonce is shy – so she created a stage persona, Sasha Fierce, to give her the bravery to perform.
Giving your child the chance to develop and make mistakes without judgement in this way can make all the difference for their confidence.
A Safe Place To Be Themselves
Anxiety in children and young people can be for a variety of reasons from pressure at school or bad experiences. But for many, it comes from a fear of not ‘fitting in’. This extra layer of stress can flare up in social situations, making any kind of interaction fraught with worry.
Social anxiety makes children nervous to speak up in class; to make friends. It can even make it harder for them to form their own identities as they progress through life.
The theatre company environment is the perfect place for them to challenge this ever-present anxiety. Performing arts creates an atmosphere of trust and reassurance. Everyone is equal and valid. There are no wrong answers or interpretations, and so every child can experiment with their own actions and interests without fear of judgement.
Theatre training gives everyone a chance to be heard and celebrated for their individual talents, quirks and mannerisms.
Learning the skills of performance draws on mindfulness. So many instances require you to be aware and present, feeling every moment.
Performers often need to utilise all of their senses during rehearsal as well as under the spotlight, to listen to music cues; to monitor their movements. This can have a calming effect on the body and mind, letting your child be in the moment instead of worrying.
At Theatretrain we frequently use breathing techniques to engage the mind and cool down after an energetic performance. An awareness of the breath like this can be hugely beneficial, especially when repeated over time.
All of these practices help tune kids into their own emotions and feelings. It can give them tools to recognise and manage anxiety in times of stress, even if they don’t realise that’s what they’re doing!
Everyone Is Anxious
There’s something about a shared feeling that makes it more manageable. If you’re the only one feeling sad, it’s isolating and lonely. If you’re with a group of people who can empathise with that emotion along with you, you find comfort in one another.
The same goes for anxiety.
Performing on stage makes everyone nervous. Even the pros feel butterflies before they walk on stage, sing their lead song or perform a new piece of choreography for the first time. But by being a part of a group of performers all feeling the same way, all getting the excitement and nerves before they take their turn, they know they’re not alone.
This experience helps to normalise anxiety and puts it in a healthier, more manageable context.
Children that perform have ample opportunity to learn how to overcome these nerves and they can transfer these newfound skills to all areas of their lives.
Performing Arts Isn’t Always About Performing
Joining a theatre company doesn’t mean you have to become a world-famous actor or singer! Theatre training has heaps of value to offer the students who aren’t sure they want a career in the arts.
If your child or young person doesn’t want to perform, there is still huge value found in the training. Theatretrain is about giving young performers control over their skill and talent, whether that’s on or off the stage.
They’ll form memorable friendships, tackle their anxieties in a new environment and develop skills that can be used in whatever interests they wish to pursue.
Is Your Child Ready To Tackle Anxiety In A Safe Space?
Your child might be terrified of trying something new, but our classes are designed to provide support and comfort to everyone. They’ll soon find space to be themselves and create new realms of self-confidence, unlocking so many future opportunities for themselves.
If you’d like to find out whether your child would enjoy being a part of a theatre company, get in touch to discover your nearest Theatretrain community.