What parents did to help shy children improve communication skills
Oftentimes parents of young children who are very shy, overlook speech and drama classes as potential activities their child would enjoy and benefit from. They assume such classes are reserved for kids who are outgoing and desire to be the center of attention.
The fact is, shy kids can enjoy and flourish in drama and speech classes, often becoming some of the most dynamic performers due to their intuitive nature and ability to analyze situations.
There are many roles that must be filled in order for a performance to come to fruition. For this reason, drama programs are often a melting pot of people with different personalities and lifestyles. There is a space in the performing arts for everyone and typically, there is a heightened effort to create synergy amongst all participants.
Shy children will benefit from a program where they are accepted for who they are and encouraged to assume different roles and experiment coming out of their shell in a safe space. This is exactly the type of environment created in drama and speech classes.
Social Simulations Lead to Increased Comfort
When children are very shy, it is easy to think they do not want to engage in social interactions.
Realistically, all people, even children who may be very shy, have the same need for friends and social acceptance. Sometimes the unknowns of socializing with strangers are the scariest parts of interacting with others.
The constant mental anguish of wondering what to say or how to place your arms and stand all while trying not to be awkward can be enough to deter some people from participating in activities involving social interactions.
The more familiar we are with situations, the more comfortable we are in them; it mitigates the factor of the unknown. When young children participate in drama and speech classes, they are essentially getting coached through simulated social situations. Practice is the key to getting better at literally anything and that includes socialization.
Socialization and Communication Go Hand-in-Hand
One of the key factors of successful social interactions is the ability to communicate. Through simulated social interactions that are coached by caring adults, young children gain an opportunity to practice communication skills, which are some of the most important essential life skills for living a happy, fulfilled life. No matter what a person does in their free or professional time, they will inevitably need to communicate. The socialization-communication cycle leads to
the development of friend groups and social relationships. As noted in an article from psychreg.org, “Attending a performing arts group provides students with space for a social connection, creating a sense of belonging.” Very shy children will tend to socialize more when they are comfortable and confident in their ability to communicate and be accepted by their peers.
Benefits to Mental Health
Providing time for kids to practice socializing helps alleviate some of the anxiety revolving around communicating and engaging with others. Performing Arts programs have been shown to help reduce stress and boost confidence. Young children in drama and speech classes can learn to use the same skills they use to combat stage fright to alleviate school stress or separation anxiety. As they grow up and experience more complicated academic courses and peer relationships, kids will be more equipped to deal with the stresses that can come along with them and more adept at navigating these social scenarios thanks to the practice they receive in performing arts programs such as drama.
Growing up involves change. Young children experience many transitions as they grow. The transition from toddlerhood to adolescence involves leaving home or preschool to begin attending primary school. Kids often have difficulty processing these big changes and assimilating comfortably to new settings and people. Drama classes give kids the confidence to face new experiences and ease the pains of transitions. Through role playing, kids in performing arts programs can experiment with outcomes and remove the element of fear associated with unfamiliar scenarios.
From Shy to Star of the Show
It may come as a shock, but some of the biggest stars in theater have been described as shy people. According to Castingfrontier.com, “Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Jim Carrey, Danny Aiello, Melissa Rauch, Jim Parsons, Chris Pine, Tom Hanks, and Al Pacino are all known to have endured painful shyness during their childhoods.” Drama classes create the perfect space for young children who are shy to blossom and truly grow into their own personalities with confidence. Shyness can even be seen as a strength in theater due to the analytical nature of most people who are described as such.
Drama classes are for EVERYONE, especially very shy children! If you are looking for ways to engage your child and build positive life skills, drama, public speaking, and performing arts programs deserve a spot at the top of your list of activities to check out!