Fun Ideas to Boost Kids’ Drama Skills at Home

 

There are many benefits to drama classes for children, including the development of public speaking and communication skills. increased confidence, emotional intelligence and self-expression. If you think your kids enjoy acting and drama-related activities, enrolling them in a Drama Kids class is the best thing you can do for them.

In addition to participation in Drama Kids classes, building their confidence at home is a great way to enhance their Drama Kids experience!  There are many at home skill-boosting activities can that will allow them to get in some extra practice and have some fun between classes.

Drama Games You Can Play With Your Child at Home

Because drama is such a versatile activity, there are many drama games for children that can be adapted for you to do together. Some favorites include:

  1. Tongue Twisters

Tongue twisters are typically a warm-up, but they are also a fun activity you can do with your child just about anywhere. You are likely familiar with some old favorites such as the one about Peter Piper and his Peppers or Sally at the Seashore, but there are so many more you can memorize with your child!

  1. Practice Pantomimes

Pantomimes are something you can easily do with your child at home to increase his or her skills. Similar to charades, both of you will put prompts into a hat and let your child draw. Then he or she can proceed to think of creative ways to act out the prompt so you are able to guess it.

  1. Mirror Magic

A mirroring activity is especially enjoyable to do with your child because there is no right or wrong way to do it – the goal is for you both to simply succeed! One of you will be the leader and the other will be the follower. The leader will perform motions, slowly at first, and the follower will mirror them. Kids will have a blast seeing how long they can go and what motions they can incorporate as they get more advanced!

  1. One-Word Story

All stories are built one word at a time, the only difference is that this one is from two different people! Starting with a single word, you and your child will alternate who says the next word until you have a complete (and silly!) story at the end.

If you think your child would benefit from drama classes, we would love to talk to you! Contact us today to learn more about the programs we offer.

Helping Your Child Find Balance in Life

 

Balance—we all strive to find it, yet it’s something that even well into adulthood always seems to be difficult to grasp.

Perhaps the best method to ensure our children are able to lead healthy, balanced lives in adulthood is to help them find ways to lead balanced lives now!

The Importance of Balance

Simply walking through the self-help section of a bookstore can impress upon you the importance of balance. We’ve long sought to find it in life, yet it always seems to be just out of reach.

When life seems out of balance, things can constantly feel like a battle. If the world around you is not balanced, it is easy to begin feeling like life is not as well.

Unfortunately, our children are not exempt from the impacts of leading an imbalanced life. Their lives are spent working to find balance between school, extracurriculars, friends, family and hobbies. Pressure accompanies them practically everywhere they go.

These pressures can include the facets of growing up, handling bullies, dealing with typical peer pressure situations, being accepted by their peers, keeping their grades up, maintaining their image and establishing an identity.

How to Help Our Kids

All parents want the best for their child, and that desire can lead to a plethora of activities and opportunities.  How often do you find yourself shuttling the kids around from place to place? The schedules and the pace of life can become overwhelming for the whole family.

It is best to weigh the options and make sure the daily routine is not too overcrowded. Listen to your kids, and be sure the activities they are participating in are those that help nurture and further their passions in life.

Becoming too busy is not healthy for any of us, but especially for our children. Not only can leading an imbalanced life bring about negative emotional impacts, but it can also lead to a multitude of negative physical impacts, too.

We can teach our children about a healthy work-life balance by demonstrating it ourselves. Yes, work responsibilities are important, but make sure they know leading a balanced life is as well!

Take some time to relax together as a family, de-stressing and unwinding from the busy week. It is vital that our children learn how to embrace the opportunities to recharge those proverbial batteries every now and then.

At Drama Kids International, we know how important it is to lead healthy, balanced lives. Through our drama programs, children are able to learn and develop the life skills needed to make sure leading a balanced life comes second nature.  For more information or to register for a class, please visit our website!

Public Speaking Doesn’t Have to Be Scary

 

No matter your age, for most people public speaking is an overwhelming and even terrifying thought.

It’s because of this that one of our main goals at Drama Kids International is to help children improve their public speaking and communication skills, while also increasing self-confidence and self-esteem through drama-related activities.

Why Public Speaking Skills Are Important for Kids

There is no way around it: Public speaking will always play a vital role in helping our children develop and build up much-needed life skills. These skills can include being able to analyze a topic, thinking logically, creating meaningful sentences and presenting thoughts in a clear manner when in front of an audience.

Yes, confidence and public speaking are closely related. The more comfortable children become with public speaking, the more you will begin to see dramatic improvements in self-confidence.  These skills and high levels of confidence directly impact how capable they are when facing challenges in the future.

Some Practical Public Speaking Tips

There are many ways for your child to improve his or her public speaking skills.  It’s important to know that most are afraid of public speaking because they are not prepared.

Here are 20 of our favorite public speaking tips for kids:

  1. Make sure goals are being set up for the presentation.
  2. Decide what is interesting and what isn’t.
  3. Have some passion for the subject or topic.
  4. Do not read the entire speech or spiel from a paper.
  5. Do have a cheat sheet/notes to help you stick to the key points.
  6. Always practice a speech or presentation before giving it.
  7. Film yourself and review the video, looking for things that were done well and those that need improvement.
  8. Accept that being nervous or anxious about public speaking is very normal.
  9. Tell stories that can help catch the attention of your audience and bolster the main message.
  10. Come up with your own public speaking style.
  11. Avoid filler words like “basically,” “well” and “um.”
  12. Use your tone, volume and speaking speed to help keep the audience engaged and interested.
  13. Never underestimate the power of laughter as an icebreaker.
  14. Practice in front of family and ask for their feedback.
  15. Remember that no presentation will be perfect, no matter who is giving it.
  16. Keep your main points and ideas memorable.
  17. Volunteer to speak in front of the class or others for some valuable practice.
  18. Study up on others’ public speaking styles.
  19. Talk to someone about your public speaking fears.
  20. Smile to help convey warmth and make others more receptive to you.

There are many more opportunities for personal growth for children involved with Drama Kids International besides those listed here. Interested in learning about what our programs can offer your child? Click here to learn more!

Encouraging Eye Contact in the Age of “Text Neck”

 

Technology has led to many welcome advancements in our society, but it has also had some rather unintended impacts on overall health and well-being. One of those impacts is the development of “text neck.”

The term “text neck” was created by a U.S. chiropractor and is used to describe repeated stress injury and pain in the neck as a result of excessive watching or texting on handheld devices over a sustained period of time.

Unfortunately, this is a condition that is seeing constant growth throughout the world and is something that may be impacting our children.

Kids & Cell Phones

We may joke that a child’s phone is an extra appendage on his or her body, but there are some numbers that can back this up:

  • The average age a child receives a cell phone is 12.1 years old.
  • 56% of children ages 8 to 12 have a cell phone.
  • 21% of children 8 or younger use smartphones.
  • 60% of families who provide a cell phone to their child did this between the ages of 10 and 11.

Parents and experts alike have become increasingly concerned by the amount of time their children are spending on smartphones, but they aren’t alone – teens themselves are concerned about their phone usage, too.

A study from the Pew Research Center found that 60% of teens (between ages 13 and 17) reported that spending too much time online was a problem their age group faced, as nine in 10 teens went on to dub it a “major” problem. Some 54% of the teens felt that they spent too much time on their cellphones, and 41% said they overdid it on social media.

Common Sense Media found that teens are spending nearly nine hours a day on average using media like online video or music, while the average was six hours a day for those ages 8 to 12.

Ways to Combat “Text Neck”

Knowing that this condition could lead to a less comfortable and even painful future for your child, it is important to also know how to combat “text neck.”

One of the easiest ways to help prevent the future discomfort that may come with this continued neck strain is to limit your child’s screen time. Going over some ergonomic techniques can also prove beneficial. These can include holding the phone up higher at eye level and resting a tablet on a thigh or table.

It is also smart to set timers to remind yourself and your children to switch positions when reading or watching something on the phone.

Eye Contact in a “Text Neck” World

In a world where eyes are commonly averted down to a smartphone or tablet, eye contact can go a long way for a child.

Here are a few ways you can help your child improve eye contact:

  1. Use role play to model bad behavior to your child.Have him or her say hello to you, but respond by looking off to the side and not making eye contact.
  2. Have them look between the eyebrows.Some children may find eye contact uncomfortable and awkward regardless, which is when you can suggest they look at the person right between the eyebrows instead. It can appear to be eye contact and not make shy children uncomfortable.
  3. Go over scripts.If a child is uncomfortable with talking to or meeting new people, having a script in the back of his or her mind may help. You can go over common greetings and small talk topics with your child. Don’t forget to have your child memorize this routine: look the person in the eye, smile, say hi and use the person’s name.

Drama Kids International is proud to offer a curriculum that is specially tailored to helping children break out of their shells and become more comfortable in a variety of different social situations.  For more information and to enroll your child in a local Drama Kids class, please visit us at www.dramakids.com

Getting Your Child Back Into the Swing of a New School Year

 

Attention, parents, this is not a drill—back-to-school season is here!

Emotions can run high at home with school starting back up for the year, but thankfully there are plenty of tips you can put into practice to help smooth over the process and help the entire family handle back-to-school season like champs.

The Emotions of Going Back to School

Going back to school after having a couple months off can be an especially difficult transition for our kids, and with that change may come some back-to-school blues.

It’s not uncommon for children to have anxiety regarding the return to school—here are some ways you can help them ease that anxiety:

  • Set up some play dates with a few of their familiar peers before the start of school. It has been found that the presence of a familiar friend during the school transition can help improve academic and emotional adjustment.
  • Start going back to school-year routines a week or two before school to help prepare them for the transition. This includes bedtimes and picking out an outfit for the next day.
  • Understand their worries about the “newness” of it all. The new school routine may seem overwhelming for a child and that feeling should not be brushed off.

You can also work with your child to set some goals for the school year. Start by having him or her pick out three goals, including academic, social and family goals. These can be revisited by the end of the school year and could yield exciting results for your child.

Tips to Ease the Back-to-School Stress

Once the shopping is done, you can use the following tips to help ease your child back into “school mode.”

  1. Convene a family meeting.In this meeting, go over the school-year routines and see how you can aid your child in getting back to the “new” normal.
  2. Create a visual schedule.Having something to look at can help your child become independent and know exactly what is expected of him or her.
  3. Establish an activity-free day.New routines and schedules can be a challenge for everyone at home, which is why an activity-free day is an especially good idea. There is nothing better than having the ability to relax and do nothing as a family for a day.
  4. Sign your child up for afterschool activities.From sports to drama programs like ours, the boost of confidence provided by afterschool programs is something too good to pass up!

We hope the upcoming back-to-school season hasn’t proven too stressful for your family. Remember, if you are looking for a fun program for your child that will allow him or her to develop strong public speaking, communication, and creative thinking skills, Drama Kids International is the place to go!

Why Failing Sometimes Actually Benefits Children

 

Failure. It’s a word we all fear and strive to avoid, and yet, it’s one that perhaps we should embrace a bit more.

Per the Merriam-Webster dictionary, failure is defined as an “omission of occurrence or performance” or more specifically, “a failing to perform a duty or expected action.” Failure doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, though, since it is through failing that we often discover what our strengths truly are. Our children are no different.

Stopping the Fear of Failure

As a parent, we want nothing more than to see our children be successful in their lives and will often go out of our way to make sure things go as smoothly as possible for them. Despite our best intentions, protecting our children from failure may do more harm than good.

Failure isn’t something to be feared and does not mean the absence of success.  Instead – it is an experience to be had on the way to success. In fact, failure can have many benefits for our kids.

Here are some of the benefits of failure:

  • Develops persistence in the face of difficulties
  • Helps us overcome fear
  • Helps inspire creative ideas and solutions
  • Aids in keeping us humble
  • Helps provide coping skills

Another benefit of failure is the lessons it can provide for our children. These lessons can include:

  • Not everyone will win or get a trophy.
  • There are different talents possessed by all.
  • You need to handle losing or difficult situations with class.
  • You have to be able to learn from past mistakes.
  • We learn from sharing valuable experiences with others.
  • Failure creates perseverance.
  • It’s good to have a sense of humor about errors and missteps.
  • Success inevitably includes some amount of failure.

Without making mistakes and failing at some tasks, our children are missing out on these valuable lessons – lessons that can help them become successful in life now and further down the road.

Helping Your Child Learn to Fail

Helping your child learn to fail is probably a concept that goes against much of the natural parenting “DNA,” but it is very important.

An inability to handle failure is something that can prove highly detrimental to your child’s life and coping skills, so here are some ways you can help teach him or her to accept and bounce back from failure:

  1. Show empathy toward your child’s frustration and disappointment.
  2. Be a model of how to bounce back after failing.
  3. Always make it a teachable moment.
  4. Make sure your child knows that what he or she sees on social media is not always an accurate picture of life.
  5. Take a step back and let your child work through failure on his or her own.

Instead of seeing failure as an always negative thing, it’s time we recognize it for what it is – a wonderful teaching moment and the giver of beneficial experiences for life.

Drama Kids International is here to help support your children through both failures and successes and will always be a safe place for them to explore their creative sides.   For more information about Drama Kids classes and camps, visit us at www.dramakids.com

Identifying the Hidden Strengths in Your Child

 

We know that our children are strong, but could there be some hidden strengths lying in wait, just hoping to be uncovered? The answer is most likely yes!

Fortunately, there are many ways we as parents can help our children discover and identify those hidden strengths.

The Importance of Strengths

Many people think of strength in physical, mental and emotional terms, but it is much more than this. Strengths are those inner qualities that can help us feel most alive—this means that they can be used to help us lead our best lives and make meaningful contributions to life.

Remember, strengths differ from interests, as interests can change over time. A strength does not disappear as we go through life, but instead usually becomes stronger.  Strengths can help your child overcome challenges, but challenges can also influence some specific strengths, such as perseverance, empathy, courage and assertiveness.

Identifying Strengths

There are three questions you should ask yourself when helping your child identify a true strength:

  1. Does my child enjoy doing it?
  2. Is my child good at it?
  3. Does my child choose to do it?

If the answer is yes to all three, a true strength has been found. For younger children this may be a bit more difficult to figure out, so you can look for tip-offs like when your child becomes so caught up in something that he or she loses track of what is going on all around.

Here are some additional tips for helping discover your child’s strengths:

  • Make use of play and imagination, as it can reveal preferences and how your child views him or herself.
  • Help find what makes him or her unique. For example, showing-off may mean that your child has a strength for entertaining.
  • Start a strengths journal, noting the things that bring joy, hold attention, garner reactions and behavior patterns.
  • Establish family traditions to help your child discover relationship strengths.
  • Listen to him or her, you’d be surprised what can be revealed through simple yes and no questions or asking “why do you think that?”
  • Forget expectations and don’t feel the need to evaluate everything.
  • Don’t compare your child to older siblings. Differing personalities equals different strengths, and siblings can be polar opposites.
  • Present your child with as many choices as possible when appropriate.

Helping your child discover those hidden strengths isn’t something that has to be taxing or stressful, instead it can be a process that occurs naturally with very little “poking and prodding.”

There are many hidden strengths that can be uncovered in your child through the Drama Kids International drama programs. Why not locate the franchise nearest you and let your child become part of the Drama Kids family?

What Technology Can’t Teach Our Kids

What Technology Can’t Teach Our Kids

 

Technology is practically a part of every facet of life these days—we use it to wake up, get the news, drive our cars, browse online, and even cook. For our children, technology is also commonplace.

From “smart classrooms” to the latest video game console, technology is perhaps even more intertwined in their lives than it is ours. Despite the overabundance of technology, there are still many things our children cannot learn from a computer or smartphone.

Raising Kids in a Digital Era

With technology practically everywhere, it’s important to know how and when to limit technology’s presence in your child’s life.

There’s no one right way to find a balance for your child’s technology usage—it is something that requires observation and time.

Do you know how to spot the signs of unhealthy tech usage in a child? Some of those signs can include:

  • Complaining of being bored or unhappy when they don’t have access to technology
  • Tantrum or resistance to screen time limits
  • Screen time that interferes with sleep, school and face-to-face communication

If these signs are being displayed by your child, it is probably time to create some healthier technology boundaries.

What Technology Can’t Teach

Despite the many benefits of technology, there are some drawbacks to too much technology in a child’s life.

Some of those drawbacks include:

  • Disturbed sleep patterns and insomnia
  • Slower development in social and life skills
  • Decrease in physical health, including weight gain
  • Damage to the development of key relationships
  • Problems with self-confidence/anxiety issues

It is the many social and emotional interactions that children need to learn that technology cannot teach. These include how to interact with their peers and adults, understanding their own emotional health, and things like confidence.

Coping skills aren’t being taught through technology, nor are the aspects of healthy expectations of one’s self. This is why human interaction, including lessons from parents and outside sources, are still a vital part of a child’s upbringing.  It is through face-to-face interaction that children learn important skills, such as communicating, being aware of others’ feelings and knowing how to relate to those with different opinions.

Many life skills still must be learned the “old-fashioned way,” through human interaction and practice. Drama Kids International is proud to provide drama programs that get children away from the screens and focused on interacting with those around them.  For more information about Drama Kids summer camps and school year programs, visit your local Drama Kids website by clicking here, and select the “Class Schedule” option at the top of the page.

15 Ideas for the Next Time You Hear “I’m Bored”

 

“I’m bored.”

Every parent’s nightmare phrase, right? Don’t worry, we’ve got some great ideas that can keep those words from exiting your child’s mouth quite so frequently!

Battling Boredom

When you hear your kids mention being bored, take a moment to have them think about the following things:

  • Have you been creative?
  • Have you played outside?
  • Have you read a book?
  • Have you exercised for 20 minutes?
  • Have you done something helpful?

An easy way to remember these is through the acronym BORED: been creative, outside play, read a book, exercised, done something helpful.

After your kids have thought about these aspects, they may just find that they’re not bored after all or could find something new to occupy their time.

If the feeling of boredom persists, there are plenty of ways you can help your children combat their feelings of boredom.

Here are 15 ideas that can help eliminate boredom at home for your kids while inspiring physical activity or creativity:

  1. Go on a family bike ride.
  2. Have them help wash the car or help with some other “grownup” chores.
  3. Have a dance party.
  4. Make an obstacle course in the backyard.
  5. Write a story.
  6. Put on a play.
  7. Create a gratitude or vision board.
  8. Put together a time capsule.
  9. Bake tasty treats.
  10. Create some snack art.
  11. Draw chalk murals outside.
  12. Go on a scavenger hunt.
  13. Try a YouTube art challenge.
  14. Collect and paint rocks.
  15. Write a letter to a grandparent.

When Boredom Is a Good Thing

Remember, boredom isn’t always a negative thing for kids and can actually help them in many ways.

Being bored helps children:

  • Develop their sense of identity
  • Foster creativity
  • Discover life passions
  • Learn time management
  • Get more physical activity
  • Form peer relationships
  • Develop problem-solving skills

Boredom can help children become more content, as a life that is too full of excitement can become exhausting and lead to the need for more and more stimuli. Boredom can also serve as a motivator for our children, inspiring them to think outside of the box to come up with ideas to bust the “boring.”

A bored child can be a less than ideal situation for any parent, but don’t forget to look at both sides of the coin. If boredom remains a common theme, consider enrolling your child in one of Drama Kids International’s exciting and educational drama programs!

How Focusing on *Your* Self-Esteem Will Help Your Child

 

We all know how important having high self-esteem is for our children and have even taken an in-depth look at how to help them build up those self-esteem and confidence levels.

But did you realize that one of the most important ways to help your child build up his or her self-esteem is by taking the time to be sure your self-esteem is at a high level? Yes—your self-esteem level can directly impact your child’s.

Boosting Your Self-Esteem

Until you’ve rectified your own self-esteem deficiencies, it’s rather unrealistic to think that you’ll be able to help your children with theirs.

Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can work to improve your self-esteem.

First, you should stop the habit of avoidance. Have you ever found yourself putting something off because of fears or anxieties related to not being successful? This is a form of avoidance that can be toxic to your self-esteem.

Avoidance of some things can become a form of self-protection, but ultimately, is harming your confidence and self-esteem. Instead of coping with a perhaps difficult situation, avoidance provides a way to put off or not do something altogether.

Learn to cope with changes. Life is change, and if you’re unable or unwilling to cope with those changes, it could hurt your self-esteem. We’re constantly encouraging our children to adapt to change and expect changes to occur through life, but if you’re not practicing what you preach, it’s unlikely to help your child.

Here are a few more steps you can take to improve your self-esteem:

  1. Identify troubling conditions or situations that can impact your self-esteem.
  2. Become more aware of thoughts and beliefs.
  3. Challenge negative or inaccurate ways of thinking.
  4. Adjust your thoughts and beliefs by replacing negative/inaccurate thoughts with more constructive thoughts.

You can also positively impact your self-esteem by remembering to take care of yourself. Try to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, eat healthier foods and take some time to do things you enjoy. Lastly, be sure you’re spending quality time with those who make you happy.

Drama Kids International is proud to provide children with the opportunity for continued self-esteem building through fun and educational drama classes. Contact the Drama Kids location nearest you to learn more about our drama programs.