Shy children Part 1

Shy children at parties

Shy children at parties

Sometimes people thinking having a group of 30 rowdy kids is the most difficult job in the world and could never even contemplate the idea of becoming a children’s entertainer. For me, its my job, my love and therefore is what I’m good at. If you have a good show, correct personality and can interact well with children, then 30+ boisterous kids are not a worry. If there are 1 or 2 in the group who are particularly bad behaved and parents are either not watching or reacting to this misbehaviour to the detriment of the show then certainly this can present its challenges.

That said, there are a number of techniques which can be used to ensure these unruly children do not get the better of the entertainer of disrupt/distract the group. What is generally more challenging is that of shy children. Occasionally, I arrive at parties and a child who has been overly-excited beforehand now retreats into their shell. Often this is temporary as they become overwhelmed by the number of children, the attention, the presents and for some, is their first birthday party. For other children (more notably guests) their shyness is compounded by mothers holding onto them as ‘their own comfort blankets’ and answering on behalf of their child ‘no she doesn’t want to join in’.

My favoured technique to overcome this shyness is to encourage the parent to sit down with the child for the first few minutes so they can familiarise themselves with the party atmosphere, entertainer (me) and jokes, fun and laughter they’ll be getting involved in.

Sometimes even parents do not want to / cannot coax their children to watch the show/join in. For me this is a tricky situation as their mum and dad has paid for them to have a fantastic fun filled and laughter infused party. What then?

Below I have compiled a few suggestions for both fellow children’s entertainer’s and mums’ or dads’ looking to host their own children’s parties.

  1. When you identify a shy child – I make it my duty to go over say hello and produce a coin from their t-shirt. If I’m able to get them to stick out their finger – I’ll pull a coin out of their finger. This demonstrates to them and their mum that I’m not scary and hopefully gives them a bit more confidence. An alternative to this is if you are not very good at producing a coin (although it doesn’t have to be anything particularly magical) is to tell them a story about a scared dog and in doing so make them a balloon poodle for them to hold (like a comfort blanket). They won’t automatically jump and start getting involved but it will start the process which, if you fail to do anything from the outset may be a massive set back for the whole party.
  2. If you can’t make a balloon animal or produce a coin from their finger….the next bet is just to give them a high five and feign pain. Ask them to hit your hand again and again fain pain – invariably this will result in a smile at the very least. If they don’t even want to give you a high five then pack your stuff up and go home….(only joking) ask their mum for a high five and feign injury. By now, mum will be on your side in trying to coax their child to join in.

Both of these points are less about an immediate interaction and joining in but more of showing them that you are not a monster.

Next post I will talk about other techniques you can use to coax shy children out of their shell in a non-pressured fun, inviting environment. For me information about how I can make your child’s birthday one to remember even if they are shy, please do not hesitate to contact me on 07934 856 96 or magic@williamthewizard.co.uk