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Tips for helping 9 year old DS be more confident in speaking in front of class/school(9 Posts)
DS had assembly at school today and had a couple of lines to say in front of the whole school. He said he was absolutely petrified and looked a nervous wreck while saying his lines. Myself and DS are quite shy and hate talking in public and I really don't want my kids to be the same when they get older.
We can't really afford drama classes but wondered if there was anything we could do to help him to feel more confident.
I think if you are shy ,just hearing your own voice...on it's own ...knowing EVERyBODY is listening to it can be quite daunting !!
My ds had a presentation to do a few years ago and we practiced with an audience....me ,his 2 brothers and a setee full of teddies and soft toys !!
some we named after some children in his class
By the time it came to do his presentation he was so good he got the 2nd highest mark ...he said he kept thinking of his teddies listening to it !!
Drama classes wont suddenly make him become a confident public speaker...in fact it could back fire and make him more anxious...or it could help in him gaining confidence and "hearing his voice"
Don't force anything...next assembly practice with your teddy audience and gradually it will get better.
It's horrible for children who have been practicing to an empty hall to suddenly have to do it to a full one ...where your voice becomes muted
Maybe you and your DH ould speak to an audience of teddies to get your confidence up as well....you dont' want ds to feel your anxiety...It is all about breathig and HEARING your voice
(Sorry so long dance and drama teacher here !!)....
who loves listening to her own voice
As a child I was very shy, and hardly ever spoke at school. At secondary school my spoken English report said: "Insufficient evidence for any judgment to be made." That was in the 1950s and I think schools are much more sympathetic towards shy children now. (I was a TA or voluntary helper in schools for over twenty years, and treated children gently.)
Eventually, as an adult I was able to give talks at work, or on topics I knew about at clubs.
What is he like with 'Show and Tell', which most schools do these days? If you know when they have that, practise with a favourite toy or game he can take to school, especially if he has anything unusual or special that would interest other children. (Some kids tend to monopolize S&T or won't give others their attention.)
Does he have any special interests, hobbies, exotic holidays etc, that he could tell the class about? I guess the worst thing about being in a 'performance' is not only having to say your words, but being able to remember them.
Tell him it does get easier as you get older (though he probably won't believe me!)
I'd try reading aloud? I learned to speak in public via reading the lesson at church (8 years in a church choir). If it's not your own words, that takes some of the pressure off.
I was a shy child, and so was one of my DC. Painfully shy infact. I grew up very very gradually growing in confidence, and became a primary teacher. DD is now at uni and certainly not shy!
We both agreed the other week that it is so dependent on your setting. At school I (and DD) were both known as shy and heavily labelled shy. Every time I was called shy I remember feeling awful and like it was such an awful thing!
I tried so hard with DD to never label her shy and celebrate her talents. I would never push her, I knew 'Oh go on DD, go talk to X, oh why not, don't be awkward, go and talk to X' would do nothing but make her feel even more rubbish about herself. But I did try and create opportunities for her to practice social skills and build her confidence.
I had to also be really careful not to model shyness around her and to show her it is ok to be chatty or do something silly.
I didn't want my DD to become someone else or feel she had to be a loud character, introversion is great, but I didn't want her to grow up struggling with confidence and labelled as I was.
In terms of school things, practice is key, if your DS really knows his line and has said it a million times in a nice loud voice to you at home, it should be second nature by the time he does it in school. It is hard to practice these things with shy children though, they are often embarrassed and reluctant, you need to make it really fun and relaxed.
These kind of speeches are far harder than talking about a topic you know well, e.g. show and tell. I still find giving presentations terrifying, but I am much more practiced and with everyone I get better. In my classroom however I am a different person who can be so loud, so silly or so strict and not feel a bit shy- it is a more normal interaction and I always plan it out. It isn't all on me, it is about my class.
Just realised this is too late but hope it went o.k. for your DS.
My idea was to suggest that your DS find a friendly face in the crowd and just speak to them. Sometimes that makes it easier.
I have DD1 (who goes shy) find DD2 in the crowd & speak to her. But it will work just as well with a friend, a TA or teacher, etc...
After 3 years, i can vouch for drama lessons not working (we have just given up).
My own DS is very shy and clams up when he sees me in the audience so now i'm fighting for a back row seat, taking sneaky peeks and hoping he doesn't see me.
To increase his confidence we've opted instead for piano lessons as if he has to perform at school, the piano will be facing away from the audience. It's a shame as he has a really good voice but never be brave enough to sing in front of people
In terms of increasign your DS's confidence, i'd go with bizzey's suggestion of performing at home/in front of toys for practice.
oldbean sounds like your ds needs to find a choir! I was only brave enough to sing on stage if there were 79 other singers up there too! Good for making friends too.
tricot39 he sings with his class/school at school performances already and is quite happy doing that though again goes all shy when he sees me.
To be honest he has so much sport going on that i don't think we'd have the time to do choir outside of school.
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