Fourteen Ways Acting Is Beneficial for Kids and Teens
BY CATHRYN HARTT | JULY 21, 2015 9:00 PM
I coach all ages of actors from tiny children to adults. I get questions all the time from parents with kids and teens who want to be actors. This is a favorite question: “Is acting good for my child?” Yes! If you’re a good parent!
How is acting beneficial for your child? I can answer that question with the authority of a coach who works with lots of kids and teens, as well as someone who started as a child actor. The best parts of me are because of a combination of my loving mother and my beloved acting. Allow me to share some of these great life tools. Here is why acting is beneficial for your child.
It allows you to support your child’s dream. As a good parent, if your child finds something that truly makes him or her happy, you are blessed. I suspect you would do everything you could to make them happy. You would support them joining the Boy Scouts, tumbling, tennis, music, baseball, academics. Right? Acting is just another activity that they love doing.
It builds confidence. I started acting because my sister, Morgan Fairchild, was too shy to get up in front of her elementary school class and give a book report, so our mom sent us to a little acting school to help her to get past her shyness. I have lots of students who come to me just to gain confidence—and they certainly do!
It gives your child something that makes them feel special. Everybody needs something that makes them feel special! Plus, kids and teens who are busy with something they love will be less inclined to hang out looking for something to do with their friends and get into trouble.
It builds a strong work ethic. When kids work in theater or film, they work long, hard hours.
It teaches them social skills. As actors, your child will work with all ages and kinds of people, and have a huge variety of life experiences.
It makes weird mean something good. Often kids who love the arts are considered plain weird, but acting is a world that celebrates being weird and different.
It encourages the synergy of community. Theater especially teaches kids the strength of working with others to create something together, teaching teamwork.
It teaches patience and commitment. Kids learn that, through patience and perseverance, they will produce something wonderful. They learn that if they keep going, failure will eventually lead to success.
It builds respect. I really kick butt in my classes about respecting others. As a young performer, I was required to clean the bathrooms at the theater, as well as to star in the show. I learned to respect others’ hard work.
It teaches presentation skills. Acting skills come in handy for book reports, science projects, interviews for college and jobs, work presentations, and leadership abilities.
It encourages thinking “outside of the box.” Creativity will help in any job or problem-solving situation for the rest of their lives.
It builds compassion. When your child creates a character, he must step into another person’s mind and understand why they do what they do. This can make your child much more understanding of others.
It empowers. Your child will often be working with adults. These are fellow actors who will treat your child as their equal in a scene. That is so empowering.
It gives you lots of special parenting time. I spent so much time with my mom and sister at rehearsals and on weird acting adventures that we had a special bond beyond most of my other friends.
Just give the same great parenting advice that you would give your child anyway: Be humble. Be kind. Be generous. Don’t do drugs, Don’t abuse alcohol. Be the best human being you can.
My sister and I have lived this life since we were children. We don’t smoke or do drugs or even drink. We live healthy, balanced lives and try to be good human beings…just like our mom and dad taught us. You are as much a part of your child’s career as they are. Just be a great parent. And add some of those great acting “life tools” to the mix.