If you’re worried your child is too shy for the performing arts, don’t be. Some of the most capable, confident and charismatic performers were also shy as children. Take Justin Timberlake, for example…
Singing, dancing and acting, he can do it all. He’s what’s referred to in the performing arts industry as a triple threat, and his on-stage presence oozes self-confidence. But he wasn’t always this way…
In his own words, he describes himself as being “very shy as a kid.”.
He says, “when I found out I could perform and have people’s attention, everything changed.”
It could be the same for your child too!
No matter how shy they are, the supportive, protective and encouraging community of a theatre training company could help them feel comfortable and confident in their own skin to step out of the shadows and take centre stage.
Shyness In Children
As the parent of a shy child, you’ll see two sides to your child depending on the situation they’re in.
Child 1 is the confident child who’s loud and funny when they’re in a ‘safe’ environment, such as at home. Whereas child 2 is the shy one. The one who’s quiet and withdrawn when they’re somewhere unfamiliar, such as a party.
There is nothing wrong with a shy child. Some children are just naturally shy, and that’s ok.
In my many years in the theatre industry, I’ve come across lots of “shy” students. And often that shyness is an indication of depth of feeling, of sensitivity and thoughtfulness. The best performers can be like this. It takes all sorts to make a world.
The thing about shyness, though, is that it can make it hard for your child to feel comfortable in social situations. Especially in new environments or with groups of people they don’t really know. Children who are shy often;
- don’t want to try new clubs
- cling to people they know in social situations
- try to make themselves less noticeable
- find it hard to speak to new people and use a quiet voice when they do
Sound familiar? Keep reading to find out how to help your child overcome their shyness…
4 Steps To Overcoming Shyness
Sometimes shyness can lead to overwhelming anxiety. One famous example, songbird extraordinaire Adele, once described how shyness made her fear her audiences so much she was physically sick with anxiety before a performance.
Don’t reach for the sick bucket just yet!
There are 4 things that can help prevent your child’s shyness from turning into anxiety, bring them out of their shell and fill them with confidence…
- Find A Community
Shy children are more likely to be their authentic selves around people they feel comfortable with, accepted by and who don’t judge them. You’ve probably noticed this with your own child around family and friends – their inner circle.
Much like your child’s inner circle, the performing arts community is an inclusive environment where your child will feel safe, supported and protected to let their guard down and be themselves.
It can be hard for a shy child to join a new group, but theatre training will give your child the time and space they need to feel ‘at home’ among their performing arts community.
- No Expectations
No matter how much reassurance you give them, it’s common for shy children to feel different from their peers and like they’re letting you down. Even though this ISN’T the case.
To help your child believe in themselves, let them know there are no expectations from them when they try something new.
Joining a theatre training company is mostly about enjoyment, fun and having a good time. Your child doesn’t have to become the next Glastonbury headliner, star of the West End or YouTube sensation.
But be prepared…
You may find that by nurturing them to overcome their shyness, they might want to be!
- Teach Your Child To Trust In Themselves
Have you ever considered why your child might be shy? Whilst some children are just naturally shy, sometimes shyness comes from feeling they might get something wrong or face rejection.
Helping your child to accept themselves for who they are, preparing them to deal with the unexpected and building their self-belief are all fantastic ways for you to help your child to develop trust in themselves.
The performing arts can help to support your child with this by…
- Encouraging your child to take ownership of their individuality to feel comfortable and confident being who they are.
- Helping them to develop life skills such as team-working, problem-solving and adaptability.
- Providing them with clear expectations and praise for their successes, so they won’t feel like they’ve failed when they haven’t.
- Shift The Focus
One way to help your child if you notice they’re feeling shy or anxious is with distraction. Talking to them about something simple and unimportant or giving them something to fidget with, will help shift the focus from their uneasy feelings until they feel comfortable again. Eventually, it’ll just become second nature to them.
With shyness often at its peak when your child is the centre of attention, it’s totally acceptable that you might think putting them on stage is only going to make things worse.
The performing arts provide your child with the tools they need to develop their self-esteem and self-confidence to help them feel comfortable being in the spotlight.
Overcoming Shyness Through Performing Arts
The performing arts are a great way for your child to overcome their shyness.
By joining a theatre training company, your child will become part of an all-inclusive, fully supportive and warm-welcoming community of individuals from all walks of life. Your child will flourish under their nurturing guidance. Encouraging them to accept themselves for who they are, flaws and all.
At Theatretrain, we welcome shy children, and take great care in helping them to develop and grow in confidence.
Our directors are kind and experienced in working with all kinds of children, including the shy ones! They’ll get to know your child and build a relationship with them that allows your child to feel comfortable and truly flourish.
Even our theatre space is created with culturing confidence in mind! We have ribbons on the floor that mark out the performance space – the space in which we release our collective imagination. Shy students can often find refuge in this space because it is away from the real world, different rules apply and they can lose themselves in the song, the dance or the scene that they are exploring.
As well as fine-tuning your child’s performance skills, theatre training sessions equip your child with skills for life. To find out more about the hidden benefits of the performing arts, click here…