How Drama Can Help Ease Anxiety & Boost Self-Confidence In Uncertain Times
Wednesday, August 5th, 2020 at 4:36 pm | News & Events
Without a doubt the last five months have thrown parents some of the greatest challenges they will ever face in the rollercoaster journey of parenthood. Without the grounding environment of school and the social aspect of the playground and parties, is it any wonder that many are concerned about the impact these times have had on their little ones. While many children have shown themselves to be surprisingly resilient, it is understandable that a great number may take some adjusting and gentle easing back into the semblance of normality that lies ahead.
Long before the term “global pandemic” became part of our daily parlance, drama has been accepted as a key tool for educators and parents in easing anxiety and enhancing confidence in young people. Through stories and roleplay, you can help children understand the world around them – something you are probably in need of now more than ever. And in opposition to connection through stories, is the physical benefit that drama games and activities can have – all of which are excellent in helping you connect to your body and breath; a form of mindfulness wrapped up in a fun game!
Here are five ways drama can help ease anxiety and bolster your child’s well-being at the moment:
1 . Puppets, roleplay and make-believe can help your child understand the world
From the time they are toddlers children act out the world around them. Why do you think play kitchens and sweeping brushes are such popular toys? Something that adults often dread – cleaning and cooking – is a favourite game for children, as they have a grand old time mimicking the grown-ups. Acting something out, such as “going to school” or “going on holidays” can help alleviate some of the anxiety that may be attached to it. In a drama class, children go on imaginative journeys that take them anywhere from the back garden to a safari!
Encourage free imaginative play at home with puppets, teddy bears and household objects. You might find some ideas for open-ended drama games in our home drama resources.
2 . Storytelling helps build a child’s communication skills, boosts confidence and builds a bond
Storytelling plays a big role in drama and theatre – in our classes for under 8s, tutors often use storybooks as starting points for creative drama exercises. Storybooks are fantastic resources for helping children in a myriad of ways. With regards to anxiety – reading to a child helps build their communication skills, giving them the ability to voice their curiosities and fears. And importantly, on a more basic level, a cuddle and a story with a parent eases all manner of anxieties and can restore their confidence to face the world.
3 . Drama activities can help connect Body and breath
Watching a children’s drama class for the first time you may be mistaken for thinking you’ve stumbled into a baby yoga session! In theatre, connecting with your breath is hugely important for performance, and as such we start our young actors off on the right path early. Warm-up exercises generally include conscious breathing in combination with movements intended to limber the body up for the class ahead. These exercises double up as a chance to ground the young actors in their bodies, to practice a moment of mindfulness and leave their worries at the studio door. Again, you can find lots of suggestions for warm-up games in our drama home resources.
4 . Making new friends improves your child’s well-being and self-worth
One aspect of drama class that we hear praised over and over again, is the space it allows for new friendships and bonds to grow. From our youngest classes to our courses for teens, we see happy alliances form every term, with children often given the unique opportunity to meet people who share the same interests as them. Whether it’s one close friend or a whole new tribe, there is nothing like the friendship of drama pals!
5 . It’s fun!
Let’s face it, it has been a really hard few months for everyone, but especially the kids who have desperately missed school, missed important social events, and had to keep far apart from grandparents, friends and neighbours. Drama class is the chance to let loose, play, unleash your imagination and above all, HAVE FUN! And what is better than that?
We look forward to welcoming our Young Gaiety back to GSA very soon. We are currently making plans and putting all measures in place for a safe return in October 2020. To be the first to hear about our Young Gaiety 2020-2021 programme, make sure you sign-up to our mailing list here.