Did you read that title and immediately picture little dancing divas or pageant princesses prancing around in over-the-top, ruffled skirts? That’s not the type of performance I’m talking about.
No. I’ve found that just because a child participates in some type of formal performance activity (like a dance recital or play), it doesn’t guarantee the child will develop loads of confidence in front of others.
And possessing the confidence to “perform” in front of others is one of the most important skills a child can have. Imagine all the future meetings they might be expected to lead as working adults or the many presentations required of today’s college students.
Perhaps your little one will grow up to be a teacher (hello, “perform” all day, every day for your career!) or maybe even show an interest in some type of serious performance art or sport as they get older.
All these future endeavors can be facilitated by a familiarity and ease with getting up and speaking in public.
But even if your child would rather leave the spotlight to others, there will be occasions in life when avoiding these types of situations is just unavoidable – not to mention how important this confidence can be when your kids begin to deal with peer pressure!
Therefore, it can be incredibly helpful to begin developing these performance muscles at a young age.
Ideas for encouraging performance in your preschooler
Toddlers love to put on a “show” for others so make sure to encourage these from the start. One of Gv’s favorite things to do every night was stand up in front of the fireplace and give some sort of weird “speech.”
It was often crazy and bizarre and G and I usually spent the entire time hiding our smirking mouths behind pillows as we experienced whatever production she had for us each night.
Often her little “shows” would follow the same pattern as our librarian’s storytime routines, complete with directions, stories, and songs.
But by supporting these strange little dramas, we have seen Gv’s confidence blossom. She can still be quite shy when meeting new people for the first time, but she also has had no problem letting her quirky personality shine brightly during instances like our rink’s holiday skating show, where she took to the ice along with several other pint-sized friends to perform their little “Frosty the Snowman” routine in the large, stadium-seat-filled rink.
She also had no problem standing on the stage at children’s church two times this past year to recite her Bible verses, earning a medal usually reserved for the older, elementary-aged crowd.
This doesn’t mean you need to turn your child into the next big star. No, think more of not dampening your child’s enthusiasm for whatever little “performances” they happen to come up with in day-to-day life.
Other opportunities to encourage performance
Feel free to also provide small opportunities to practice performing during your year: Encourage them to read with expression, recite nursery rhymes or Bible verses, and even participate in things like poetry teas.
Pop on some tunes and occasionally have an impromptu family dance party, grab whatever instruments you have around the house (like we did here) or, make some simple ones yourself (you can find a few ideas in this or this post) and march around in your own parade. It’s not hard to find pockets of time during the day to promote a little performance practice in your kids.
Start looking for these opportunities today and enjoy seeing your child’s confidence grown and personality shine!
Does your child ever put on unique little performances at home? I’d love to hear! Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.