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Help kids feel comfortable while speaking in front of people

Speaking in front of a crowd can make any child nervous. Blanca Cobb shares ways parents can help their kids feel comfortable while center stage.

It's been a week since the Super Bowl and people are still talking about Jennifer Lopez and Shakira's half-time performance. Much of the talk has been about J-Lo's 11-year-old daughter, Emme, who sang with her mom on stage. During an appearance on Jimmy Fallon's show, J-Lo said that Emme wasn't nervous when performing. 

Not many kids will be on stage during the Super Bowl, but many will be speaking or presenting in front of groups of people whether at school, college or work. As a parent, you can help your kids feel more comfortable. Encourage them to tell stories or talk in front of people like family or friends. Play games like charades where they have to act out the words in front of people. Acting and drama classes can be helpful as performances will be on stage. 

A common mistake that parents make is focusing on performance and accuracy instead of effort and comfort. Initially, it's most important for your kid to be in front of a group. Let them get comfortable. Correcting what they say and how they say it or jumping in to finish what they're saying will make your kids feel self-conscious. Most likely, kids will not want to be in front of a crow anymore. Kids need encouragement not correct in the early stages of talking in front of groups. As they're more comfortable, you can finesse the details such as mispronounced words or getting things confused. 

If your kids get nervous before being center stage, tell them to focus on you, if you're in the audience. When making eye contact with you and you give them a look of assurance then you're grounding them. They get strength and comfort from you. If you're not in the audience then tell them to focus on one thing as their grounding spot. Or, tell them to look at people's forehead or slightly above their eyes as it'll be less intimidating. 

What suggestions do you have? Share your thoughts on my Facebook page: Blanca Cobb-Body Language Expert. Write a message on my timeline and I'll get back to you.