- Posted by Marie Kelly
- On January 9, 2018
Have you ever been so overcome with fear that you cannon function properly even though you know if you did not feel so anxious you could easily perform the task? Performance anxiety can affect a person at any age, but when it comes to kids it is a tough call for parents and family to observe. Remember how nervous most of us got for speech competitions, this is not such an overriding thing, but for some kids performance anxiety is really debilitating. How does it physically pan out? Tantrums, stomach ache, refusal and nail-biting are just a few outward signs. For some kids, being in the public arena even around same age peers and having to ‘perform’ such as cooking or taking an art class can bring on performance anxiety. So how can we help our kids:
- Explain that having some “jitters” or anxiety is absolutely normal, avoid the phrases, “Don’t be silly, don’t worry’. Instead, show empathy “Yes it is hard” and then suggest some practical examples of how to reduce the anxiety.
- Speak gently and slowly to relax the butterflies
- Don’t let them avoid the situations, by writing a note to the teacher; building resilience around a stressful situation will empower them in the long run so they can deal with a school speech or a maths test.
- Encourage stretching to loosen up muscles and taking slow deep breaths before a game.
- Focus on the journey rather than the outcome….remind your child what they have achieved so far, offer small rewards as a way of recognising what they have achieved so far
- Tell them you are proud of them no matter what and ensure they know they will not be punished for not doing well and your love for them does not depend on a performance.
If these simple tips do not make a difference consider seeking professional support and therapy for your child at Kidz Therapy, email@example.com. Many types of therapy can improve and support your child to reach their potential without fear and anxiety.
Adapted from Maui Family Magazine