The Trick that Helped Relieve My Daughter's Stage Fright

Image: Sarah FernandezShy is not a word that I would use to describe my four-year-old daughter. "Look at me! Look what I can do!" is what is typically coming out of her mouth. So when it was observation day at her ballet class a few months ago I couldn't figure out why she froze. She started out participating and then suddenly she wouldn't move other than to hold the teacher's hand and hide behind her leg while gazing at the floor.

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Afterwards I discovered that she didn't want anybody except for me and the mothers of her good friends, who are also in the class, watching her. She had stage fright and didn't want all those other parents watching her too. I totally get it as I don't like speaking in front of large crowds either (ironic since my audience is the Internet!), but I wanted her to feel confident and be able to perform the ballet moves that she's been working so hard all year to learn.

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When the next observation day came around I asked her if she wanted to go to class that day. I hadn't figured out how to ease her mind yet. Even though I'm a firm believer in not letting my kids give up, I figured if she wasn't ready to perform for the parents, it was not the end of the world. I also wasn't going to go and watch her sit on the sidelines the entire time so I told her that if we went she was going to have to participate. She said that she wanted to go, but that she didn't want anyone but me watching her.

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And that's when the solution to the problem came to me. I certainly wasn't going to observation day to watch the other kids, and neither were the other parents going to watch her. We were there to see our own children. So I told my daughter that she didn't have to worry about the other parents watching her. They would be in the room, but they were there to see their own kids, just like I was only there to watch her. Those other parents wouldn't be paying attention to her. Their eyes would be on their kids. I wasn't sure it would work, but I figured it was worth a shot.

And sure enough, she flitted into ballet class on the next observation day and did every little thing that the teacher asked and that the other little ballerinas were doing, and with a big smile on her face. Yes, the audience will see her while they are watching their children, but she doesn't quite understand that yet. This tactic is working for now, and it's making her more comfortable while performing in front of other people. I just hope it works in a month when it's time for her big recital!

This post was written by Sarah Fernandez.

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