top of page


Updated: May 30, 2023

As a parent, you probably want your child to succeed in everything they do, be it in academics, sports, social life, or the arts. However, performance anxiety can be a significant obstacle for many children.

When a child experiences performance anxiety, they can become nervous, anxious, and even fearful of failure. As a result, their performance may suffer, and they may struggle to reach their full potential.

In this article, we will explore ways to help your child overcome performance anxiety and improve their confidence and performance.

Introduction to Performance Anxiety in Children

Performance anxiety is a common issue that affects many children. It is a feeling of nervousness or fear that arises when a child is faced with a situation where they are expected to perform, such as playing their sport, giving a speech, taking a test, or performing in a play. This anxiety can be so severe that it negatively affects the child's ability to perform well, leading to poor grades, missed opportunities, loss of self-trust, and a lack of confidence.

Understanding the Root Cause of Performance Anxiety

To help your child overcome performance anxiety, it is important to understand the root cause of their anxiety. There could be several reasons why your child may feel anxious before a performance.

For example, they may feel pressure to perform well because they don't want to disappoint their parents, fear failure because they have tied their self-worth to succeeding, or worry about judgment from others. Understanding the cause of your child's anxiety can help you address the issue more effectively.

How Communication Plays a Role in Building Confidence

Effective communication is an essential key to building your child's confidence. As a parent, you can help your child feel more confident by listening to their concerns, offering encouragement, and providing support.

When a child feels heard and understood, they feel respected and like they matter. In turn, they are more likely to internalize a feeling of confidence, value, and worthiness.

Additionally, you can help your child build their confidence by teaching them how to communicate effectively with others, such as the teachers, coaches, and peers. This includes teaching them how to express themselves clearly, listen actively, and assert themselves when necessary.

Tips to Help Your Child Overcome Performance Anxiety

To help your child overcome performance anxiety, there are several tips you can follow. First, help your child prepare for the performance by practicing and rehearsing with them, then provide sensory-based feedback to refine their performance. This will help them feel more confident and prepared for the actual performance. All performances can be rehearsed, be it arts, speeches, sports, or simple social acts such as talking to new friends.

You can help your child relax by teaching them relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and how to visualize their desired outcomes.

You can also encourage your child to focus primarily on having a high-performance practice instead of focusing on the outcome, which can help them feel less anxious about the upcoming performance.

Another tip is to help your child reframe their thoughts about the performance. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects that "could" happen, encourage your child to focus on the positive aspects, such as the opportunity to learn and grow from any results they get, be it massive mistakes or wins. Doing this can also help your child develop a growth mindset by teaching them that failure is a natural part of the learning process and that it is okay to make mistakes.

Strategies to Increase Performance

You can use several strategies to help your child improve their performance. First, help your child set achievable goals that are specific, measurable, realistic, meaningful, and time-bound. This will help them stay focused and motivated.

Help your child develop a growth mindset by encouraging them to embrace challenges and persevere through difficulties. When your child sees challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, they are more likely to perform better.

The most critical strategy to increase performance is to encourage your child to practice regularly. Practicing regularly will help your child build their skills and develop their confidence through competence.

And remember to praise your child's efforts and progress, not just their achievements. This will help them feel valued and motivated to continue practicing and improving.

The Importance of Positive Reinforcement and Praise

Positive reinforcement and praise are essential to building your child's confidence and improving their performance. When you praise your child's efforts and progress, you are reinforcing their positive behavior and encouraging them to continue working hard. Additionally, praise can help your child feel valued and appreciated, which can boost their confidence, and self-esteem, and motivate them to perform better.

However, it is important to provide constructive feedback as well. Constructive feedback can help your child understand what they need to improve and how they can do so. When providing feedback, be specific and focus on the behavior, not the person.

For example, instead of saying, "You're not good at X," say, "If you would like to improve X, you can by practicing more in this area."

Additionally, constructive feedback is received best when it is given between two praises. This is called the "feedback sandwich."

For example, "You did really well in X and Y. I am very proud of you for all the hard work you have been doing.... I know you are upset that you made those mistakes, I think you could improve by practicing more in the Z area. What do you think?.... Overall, I really respect you for the effort you are giving towards your progress, and again, I am proud of you."

Encouraging Your Child to Take Risks and Try New Things

Encouraging your child to take risks and try new things can help them overcome performance anxiety and build their confidence. When your child takes risks and tries new things, they are stepping out of their comfort zone and challenging themselves. This can help them develop resilience and adaptability, which are essential skills for success.

Encourage your child to try new things by exposing them to different experiences and opportunities. Additionally, teach them to embrace failure as a natural part of the learning process. When your child sees failure as an opportunity to learn and grow, they are more likely to take risks and try new things.

Seeking Professional Help if Needed

If your child's performance anxiety is severe and affecting their daily life, it may be necessary to seek professional help. A professional can help your child develop coping skills and strategies to manage their anxiety. Additionally, they can provide support and guidance to you as a parent, helping you better understand and support your child.

Real-life Success Stories of Children Who Overcame Performance Anxiety

In my work with students, athletes, and adults, I have seen and been a part of many success stories. You watch this and can read about some of those here.

It's valuable to remember that many well-known athletes and actors have experienced performance anxiety and low self-confidence. For example, one of the greatest swimmers of all time, Michael Phelps, dealt with performance anxiety and depression. And well-known actor Emma Stone has had to work to overcome anxiety and panic attacks.

Final Thoughts

Performance anxiety can be a significant obstacle for many children, but it is possible to overcome it. By understanding the root cause of your child's anxiety, practicing effective communication, and using strategies to increase performance, you can help your child build their confidence and improve their performance.

By providing positive reinforcement, encouraging your child to take risks and try new things, and seeking professional help if needed, you can help your child achieve great success.

Remember, getting good at overcoming performance anxiety can take a bit of effort upfront, but it's an essential part of building true confidence, and the results are well worth it.

If you have any further questions or concerns about your child's performance anxiety, feel free to book a complimentary 30-minute call. On this call, I will help uncover the root cause of your child's performance anxiety and/or confidence issues, and give you some helpful tips while we talk.

4 views0 comments


bottom of page