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Help Your Child Overcome Public Speaking Anxiety

(Editor’s note: please welcome Madison, talking about helping children overcome their fear of speaking in public. Thanks, Madison!)

the word 'scared' arranged verticallyTrying to get your child to write out and then actually give a speech can be difficult. Getting ready to speak in public can be just as frustrating as writing out and planning social studies lesson plans because your thoughts get jumbled and there are so many different subjects to consider and talk about. Your child will feel this anxiety along with the fact that he or she will have to get up and speak in front of other people without any help.

How can you help your child get over the anxiety that comes with public speaking? Does public speaking anxiety ever really go away? In short the answer to this last question is no. If you have public speaking anxiety it will probably not go away over night and it may always linger in the back of your head. However there are ways you can deal with public speaking anxiety and you can teach your child what to do so that he or she can feel as comfortable as possible while giving his or her speech.

When helping your child write out their speech you do it almost the same way you would write a speech for yourself; you plan it out, make an outline, write it out, make cue cards, and practice. Practice is probably the best thing your child can do in order to feel more prepared and less anxious.

Make sure you discuss with your child the baby steps of speech making, things like; eye contact, repeating the words “um” and “like,” and of course the basic outline of a speech. The basic outline of a speech is when you: tell the audience what you are going to tell them, you tell them and or show them, then you tell them what you just told them.

You can tell your child to think of it like a burger. The introduction of the speech is one bun, the body or content of the speech is the meat, and the conclusion of the speech is the other bun. Any other things like power point presentations and visual helps are the condiments for the burger.

Here are a few more tips that you can give to your child to help them feel more prepared and less anxious:
• Don’t try to memorize your whole speech, just the main topics.
• Practice in front of other people.
• Take deep breaths.
• Practice with distractions.
• Take one piece of the speech and practice bit by bit.

If your child feels uncomfortable making eye contact with people while speaking, teach them the wall trick. The wall trick is when you pick a spot on the wall right above the audience and you look at that spot. This way you are not looking at people but it gives the illusion that you are.

Madison Hewerdine is an author who writes about social studies lesson plans and has a passion for latin dancing.

Earnest Parenting: tips for parents with anxious children.

Photo provided courtesy of The G TM via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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