How to Combat Your Kids’ Audition Jitters

If your child is preparing for a big audition or tryout—whether it’s for a spot on a sports team or a role in a local play—they’re likely experiencing jitters leading up to the big day. In order to help them perform their best, use these tips to help combat those audition-day nerves:

1. Set goals, then focus on the task at hand. In preparing for an audition, encourage your kiddo to set lofty goals and aspirations. Once they’re in that audition room, however, they need to focus on the task at hand and not on accomplishing those goals. They need to stay present—instead of letting their little minds wander to goal-related thoughts like, “Will I achieve my goal?” By focusing on the present, your child will combat their nerves and perform better.

2. Prepare, prepare, prepare! If your child is truly prepared for an audition, they’ll be less likely to experience audition-day jitters. Instead, they’ll feel excited to share their preparation with the judges. If your kiddo isn’t prepared, doubts will creep in leading to increased fear and anxiety. Instead, if your kid trusts and believes that they are prepared for their audition, they won’t doubt their amazing abilities.

3. Develop a mantra. The power of positive thinking can do wonders! Consider working with your child to develop a mantra that resonates with them. The mantra can be anything! American long distance runner Renee Metivier Baillie uses this mantra to help her in races, “Think strong, be strong, finish strong.” Misty Copeland, principal ballerina with the American Ballet Theatre, recites these words to pump herself up: “Never let other people’s words and thoughts define you.” Create a mantra for your child to summon strength during their audition.

4. Practice deep breathing. Deep breathing is often used in yoga and meditation as a beneficial way to center the body. Consider teaching your child how to harness this tool to calm jitters during auditions. By taking deep controlled breaths, your child can self-soothe, increase oxygen flow and recenter their thoughts. Teach them to practice breathing in full, deep breaths to fill their lungs and then exhaling slowly, repeating the process 5-10 times. Encourage them to try this anytime they feel overwhelmed, especially during high-stress situations like auditions.

5. Remember this is supposed to be fun! Lastly, remind your kids that they’re doing this for fun! Just relax and enjoy the experience. Yes, it will push them outside of their comfort zone. It may feel scary and unexpected but that doesn’t mean the audition can’t also be a really positive and fun experience. Encourage your kids to do their best and just have fun!