What to Do if Your Child Is Afraid of Speaking in Public

06 January, 2020
Helping your child to overcome their fear of speaking in public will be much easier when you follow the tips in this article!

Presenting a project in front of their whole class, taking part in a public performance, an oral exam…all these things can be so daunting if your child is afraid of speaking in public. So, what can we do in these cases?

Children often have to speak in front of a group of people. In many cases, they panic and go blank. They stutter, start breathing heavily, turn bright red… It can be so traumatic for them every time they have to address a group of people.

These traumas can remain with the child throughout their growth, adolescence, and even adulthood. There are many adults who can’t engage in conversation or express themselves when there are a large number of people around.

Schools often don’t teach children how to deal with these kinds of problems. That’s why we’ve compiled a series of tips for you to put into practice at home. With them, you’ll see that your child will gain confidence and lose their fear of speaking in public.

Don’t answer for your child

It’s very important not to speak or answer for them when they ask you to. It’s quite normal for your child not to respond to someone who they don’t know. We usually tell them that our child is shy and we answer for them, but we shouldn’t do this.

We should let our children respond and express themselves, even if they take a while or if it’s difficult for them. In this way, we’ll help our child to lose their fear of speaking in public.

Another way to help children lose their fear is to teach them simple breathing techniques. They should learn to inhale and exhale properly to control their breathing – this is one of the things that causes most difficulty when speaking in public.

What to Do if Your Child Is Afraid of Speaking in Public

Use expressive games to overcome the fear of speaking in public

Here we can combine play with expression. These two factors together will help your child lose their fear of public speaking. One of the games that can help them the most is drama.

Choose a children’s story that they like and act it out, giving them the main part. Other types of useful games in this respect are musical performances or playing with puppets that they have to move and make them speak.

Reciting poetry is a good way to help them. As an additional bonus, you’re helping them to improve their memory by retaining the verses, as well as helping them to project their voice when they recite them.

These “performances,” whatever type they are, should be carried out in front of other people. If, for example, you’ll be having a family meal soon, then take the opportunity to prepare some sort of drama sketch with them and get them to perform it in front of the family. In this way, the fear of speaking in public will diminish if the child sees that there are many people and they’re able to do it well.

Writing as a method of structuring ideas

Before the words come out of our mouths, they pass through our thought processes and are structured. Therefore, if you help your child to become more fluent in writing, then it’ll help them structure their ideas better. You’ll be helping them exercise their memory and thoughts, as well as their capacity to organize and link ideas.

Another good idea is to think up the title of a story and encourage your child to invent a story using the title, along with its characters and content. If they write down part of the story every day then they’ll be learning how to structure ideas as well as developing a storyline. At the same time, they’ll be able to let their imagination run wild.

What to Do if Your Child Is Afraid of Speaking in Public

Always support and encourage them

Conveying confidence to your child is the greatest support you can give them when it comes to speaking in public. Always encourage them while they’re speaking if you’re in front of them and applaud them at the end.

Make it clear how well they’ve done and how capable they are. By doing this, the child will gain confidence and self-esteem – two key aspects to lose fear.

Conclusions to help your child lose their fear of speaking in public

To conclude, and as we said before, carrying out these activities in front of family or friends are very important. In this way, they’ll be in front of a large group of people who’ll support them as they speak. They’ll grow in self-confidence and will feel like they really can speak in public.

  • Lobera, M. J. G., & Portilla, N. O. (2014). Miedos y fobias en la infancia. Anales de Pediatria Continuada. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1696-2818(14)70202-1
  • Maldonado, I., & Reich, M. (2013). Estrategias de afrontamiento y miedo a hablar en publico en estudiantes universitarios a nivel de grado. Prensa Médica Latinoamericana.