Some kids are born performers. They are energetic, engaging and entertaining. They can captivate any audience, command attention and create drama out of pretty much any situation.
The good news for parents who have performers on their hands is that there are plenty of opportunities to foster this energy and let your child’s unique talents shine through. The even better news is that encouraging your child to take a leap into the world of performing arts is incredibly good for them.
All the world’s a stage. Just ask any child who loves to entertain.
What are the performing arts, exactly? Performing arts relates to any creative activity that involves performing in front of an audience. This includes drama, music, dance, singing, spoken word, magic shows, musical theatre, puppetry, comedy, circus acts, public speaking and many more.
What can the performing arts do for your child?
Build their confidence.
Is there anything better for a child’s self-esteem than a standing ovation at the end of a performance? In addition to a confidence boost, performing arts can also teach kids life lessons like teamwork, responsibility and commitment.
It (hopefully) reduces their anxiety
Getting up on stage is terrifying, even for the most confident child. But let’s face it – in life there are a lot of moments that terrify us. And we have to do them, even if we’re about to pee our pants from fear. Giving children an opportunity to get on stage, to master these jitters and to control those nerves will benefit them now and later in life.
It provides them with a chance to express themselves
Let them be free to sing like no one is listening, to dance like no one is watching, to realise that this creative energy is not only healthy, but encouraged. It helps them to be quick thinkers and problem solvers – In many instances, performers have to be quick thinkers. They have to improvise and be flexible depending on the show, the audience and the circumstances. This is an incredibly hard skill to teach and one that many children who do performing arts will master at a young age.
It teaches kids that it’s okay to make mistakes
Forget a line? Miss a note? Fall at the end of the dance? It’s okay. It happens. It’s all part of the performance fun. The show must go on and performance arts teaches kids this important lesson of resilience.
It helps them understand emotions
Performance art is often about pretending. For children who struggle to express themselves, getting into character can help them open up. It’s a very safe way for kids to figure out certain feelings. After all, children learn through play and performing arts nurtures this imaginative play. This is the case with many different avenues of performance arts, not just acting.
It helps children cope with stress
Many children can lose themselves dancing, singing or playing an instrument. It’s a healthy way to escape, to release tension and to get rid of negative energy.
It nurtures their individualism
It gives kids a chance to realise just how special they are and celebrates their creative energy.
Nurturing their Creative Side
If your child does love to perform, he or she is in great company! There are countless little stars out there, already on the stages, just waiting to be discovered. Here’s what we parents can do to help bring out this creative energy.
Choose a school that includes performance arts programs – Many schools will have performance arts programs (or certain aspects of it) as part of their curriculum.
Ask other parents for recommendations and see what grabs your child’s interest. Bring the performing arts home – Let them be performers by giving them the tools they need. This doesn’t mean you have to transform your garage into a
ballet studio. Instead, create a dress up corner for your little actor, purchase a magician’s kit so your little trickster can
practise, set up a game of charades or help your child choreograph a dance routine that she can perform in
front of the family. For older kids, consider starting a charades family night.
Add to their interest through books, shows and movies
Does your child love acrobatics? Browse through Booktopia to see if you can find picture books that feature this theme. Is your little one obsessed with dance? Introduce them to shows like Angelina Ballerina, where the main characters are, you guessed it, dancers!
Consider board (and video) games
There are plenty of board games that are great for nurturing this creative side. Charades is one of them but others include Taboo, Keep on Humming and Cranium. On the video game front, games like Rock Band, Just Dance and Karaoke Revolution are fun for budding performers.
Introduce them to the wonderful world of real life performances
There are heaps of professional and amateur performers that come to Cairns.
Cairns Performance Arts Centre only recently opened which is a great place to take in a (G-rated) show with your aspiring actress. The Tanks Art Centre also often have child-friendly shows. Munro Martin Park also hosts a number of shows throughout the year, including ballets.
In addition to the paid performances, many schools, companies and organisations will put on plays, concerts and recitals a few times a year featuring their students. Tickets tend to be quite affordable and most are open to the public.
Whether your child is brand new to the performing arts or a seasoned player, they will benefit from the enthusiasm, professionalism and lasting friendships that are developed through these creative activities.