Let’s imagine your child all grown up. He or she has graduated with good grades and is currently in a highly successful job. Your child is about to prepare for a presentation in front of many people in a meeting. He or she knows all the information needed to be conveyed to the audience; all key points are also up on the slides for the audience to easily refer to important information. Your child starts to present but turns nervous and freezes in front of the crowds because of a lack of confidence in himself or herself, and a fear of being judged by the audience.
It is important to start early when it comes to building confidence in your child. One of the ways to train your child to present himself or herself well to the public would be speech and drama lessons. It’s not all about becoming the next actor or actress in Singapore. Speech and drama offer a lot of practical lessons that help your child to develop holistically. From improved communication skills to better creative thinking skills, speech and drama can teach your child many things that they can apply at different life stages. Here are some ways that speech and drama can help in your child’s growth and development.
Growing Comfortable with Their Voice
Even as adults, we might not be able to present ourselves with confidence in the public eye. Being comfortable in your own body and feeling comfortable to speak your mind is such an important life skill that is overlooked by many. At speech and drama lessons, it’s all about creating that space to encourage children to express themselves as they learn how to act out characters in a play. With constant training and encouragement to speak without fearing judgment, children will grow more comfortable with their voice and become more confident in presenting themselves to an audience. Every new acting role that your child tries is an opportunity for them to be vocal. They learn not to be phased by others’ negative opinions of them by expressing themselves during times when they need to be assertive.
Even at home, speech and drama lessons can encourage children to practise public speaking skills in preparation for the following week’s activities. Your child can build a habit of rehearsing in front of the mirror and growing comfortable in seeing themselves present, express and emote.
Stimulating Creative Thinking
Especially during improvised acting, speech and drama can train your child to be creative and think on their feet while being immersed in a role that they are tasked to play. If they are asked to play a character, a child is given the opportunity to explore how they should portray the character best, and how they can bring out the emotions of the character best. For example, if asked to portray the role of a teacher, some questions that will automatically come to mind might be, ’How does a teacher act or behave?’, ‘What would he or she say to students?’, or ‘What are things that he or she will have to teach them?’ From mannerisms to the kind of expressions that can be created, your child can explore ways to bring out a particular character. This trains your child to think creatively, as they have to constantly think of new ways to express different characters while considering different perspectives from each character.
As a child considers the point-of-view of a particular character, he or she also learns to understand the point-of-view of the character in a particular context, facing a particular problem or challenge in the play. By placing themselves in the shoes of their character, children are able to understand the feelings that come with being placed in the position of the character. With the habit of understanding perspectives other than their own, children are also better able to empathise with people in general.
Fostering Interpersonal Skills
Like any other sports activity, speech and drama also helps to foster interpersonal and communication skills. Speech and drama involves a lot of interactive activity with peers when it comes to exploring and discussing ideas together on organising performances, coming to compromise and practising with each other in preparation for plays. Everyone plays a pivotal role in contributing to the team. They learn to vocalise their thoughts and opinions this way. In bid to actualise things as a group, children will pick up rapport skills and learn how to work together in reaching goals and objectives. Interpersonal skills are important life skills to have in today’s interconnected world. No matter what stage of life your child finds yourself in, interpersonal skills will come in handy whenever they are in an environment that requires communication and interaction.
Challenging Your Child to Face Fears
Speech and drama lessons can seem daunting to children as they are constantly exposed to people. They are constantly required to project their voice and present themselves confidently. Such lessons are a great way to challenge your children to face their fears of speaking in public as it helps them get used to expressing themselves. Under a controlled environment that helps children to feel comfortable with speaking up, your child will be exposed to many opportunities to develop communication skills, self-confidence, creative thinking, and empathy. With different activities, scenarios, characters that your child has to play during the course, there’s always something new that your child will have to face. It may be intimidating to your child at first, but it will also train them to react to unexpected and new situations with confidence and courage.
If your child struggles with self-esteem issues, or has fears about presenting in public, why not let him or her try speech and drama lessons? They might pick up some things that will prove useful in the long haul. Whether or not they are giving a presentation in class, performing in public at a concert, or pitching to clients in future, the things that they learn from speech and drama might give them a boost in confidence in everything that they do.