My DS (9) has a part in the school Christmas play. He's not playing a leading role but has quite a few lines, and part of a song to sing by himself. At bedtime last night it came out that he's dreading it, and would love to call in sick on the day. It's his first performance, and he's not a lover of new experiences. He's smart and articulate and very confident at school normally.
Has anyone come across this before, and how did you handle it? During the summer DS did a week at drama camp, his first ever acting, and on the last day (performance in front of parents) he wouldn't go to camp. We sat outside for ages but he wasn't budging. So this is heading the same way. It's not a big deal to speak to the teacher and swap for a minor role, we can do that any day this week, sooner the better. But I know how it will play on his mind and he'll be disappointed - yet I have no clue if there's any way to work through stage-fright. Can anyone help?
Speak to the teacher. If he pretends to be ill he will be letting everyone down. Better to back out now than ruin the performance.
Encourage him to take a small part, if the teacher is willing.
Do his teachers know? I am just wondering if anyone can help with sensitive support/coaching and if that doesn't work, let him swap with someone who has a less "on view" role?
DD always came across as confident, articulate, etc but hated being in a position where she was "on show" but she managed to overcome it when she worked with a lovely sensitive and supportive teacher in her Y6 production and was a dancer with a spotlight part.
Thanks, Sunna - I should have had an exclamation mark after the 'sick call' sentence (!) - he does get how that would be so unfair on the teacher and another child.
Tilly, his teacher might be the right one to handle this. She seems to get him, and encourages him with lots of extra things when she sees he's able for more. Very helpful to hear what worked for your DD, thanks.
Definitely let the teacher know and then leave it to her. I never thought either of my DC would perform on stage, but with kind but firm expectations from their teachers they both do, and they enjoy it. Which does not mean that they do not get nervous. Everyone gets nervous - tell your DS that if you are not nervous before a performance you are doing it wrong, and anyone who says they aren't is either fibbing or not taking it seriously. He needs to embrace that and work through it - almost guaranteed the adrenaline high after the event will be worth it. Good luck!
Hi Stealth, that is my instinct too - embrace it and work through it - but I don't want to push too hard. DS and I talked about adrenalin last night, and the endorphin high after you get through something difficult. Every year in life will bring some tests like this which he doesn't feel able for, but it's worth working through most. He wants to be an inventor, has an invention notebook and is a bit disgusted that many of his ideas have been taken already So we talked about presenting a wonderful invention to the world on a stage (Steve Jobs) and wanting to be ready for that - because he wouldn't feel any different before that presentation. Then he went to sleep (10pm on a school night ) saying 'at least you know how to calm me down, Mum' so I think I'll let him work through it in his mind for a day or two and then see the teacher.
You're so lucky that your DS has spoken to you about this and that you can speak to his teacher in good time.
Last year my 9yo DS was so nervous that he stumbled through his lines and then fled the stage in tears because he's made a mess. I has absolutely no idea that he was having trouble
This year with a lot of patience from his new teacher and a lot of help with learning his lines at home, he managed to get through his class assembly. For DS this was a massive achievement as at first he was struggling to say them in front of me, DH and DD.
I have just experienced this, albeit with a 6yo at a school assembly.
Are you going to be at the performance. It helped that I was there and that I had suggested he just focussed on saying his lines while he was looking at me and pretended no one else was there as if we were just practicing them at home. He found this really helped. I also spoke to his teacher a few days before and she helped him with his nerves too.
Thanks for your extra messages. I called his teacher today after school and told her about the situation. She was surprised, as he did well in practice this morning, albeit a little quiet. Then DS arrived home and informed me that practice was actually more exciting than scary, and the weekend's nerves weren't in evidence at all. I'm delighted if it's all passed over but will watch for a few days and see. Thanks again.
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