Ask any sizable group of young kids what they want to be when they grow up, and chances are there will be a few answers of “movie star” among them. Of course, you’ll likely also hear “princess” and “cowboy”, so parents are sometimes caught off-guard when their child begins to express a real, sincere interest in acting – especially when they have no background or experience in it themselves. If your child wants to act, here are a few things you can do to support and encourage their new interest.
Show an Interest
Many children love to share their excitement with others when they’ve found an interest they’re passionate about. When they’re able to feel that others legitimately care about their interest – and their experiences with it – it can fan the flames even more. Help your child see that you’re genuinely interested in and care about acting – or at least in their desire to act – by encouraging them to share their thoughts, feelings, and excitement with you. Ask them what it is they like about acting, why they want to be actors, and what actors they might see as role models. Invite them to give you performances, and tell them how much you enjoy seeing them have fun with what they’re doing.
The fastest way to crush a dream is with unnecessary negativity. For some parents, the immediate reaction to their child expressing a desire to be an actor is to be protective – and, unfortunately, negative. It’s important that your child has a realistic outlook, but there are supportive ways to present this information. For instance, pursuing acting can require a lot of dedication and hard work, and helping your child understand what lies ahead is pragmatic and helpful. Even once your child is involved in acting, it’s still important to stay positive. If your child is struggling with something, be supportive by offering to help them practice; leave the coaching and correction to their instructors.
Find Opportunities for Your Child to Participate
For your child’s desire to act to truly flourish, it needs to be nourished and allowed to grow. One of the best ways you can help this process is to give your child the opportunity to learn more about acting, and how to reach their goals, through outside performance and instruction. Enrolling in drama classes in school or volunteering for the school play can help them gain experience, as can community theatre performances. For kids of all ages, after school or weekend acting classes and summer acting camps can be wonderful chances to hone their skills under professional direction.
Keep it Fun
Even if the interest in acting was originally the child’s, it can be difficult for some parents not to get caught up in the passion. Yes, acting can require discipline and dedication to the craft – but for your child, it should always be something they enjoy, not something they’re forced to do or worse, something that makes them feel bad about themselves. Of course there will be days that they’d rather sleep in than go to a morning rehearsal, but aside from fulfilling commitments they’ve already made, acting should be something they want to do. The moment they no longer enjoy what they’re doing is the moment the passion begins to die.
Still Have More Questions?
KD Conservatory has acting, musical theatre, and film production programs to help prepare students for careers in the entertainment industry. Contact us with any of your questions, or check us out on Facebook for ongoing updates and information!