The Frightened Child, and How to Handle Him or Her
Clown who has ever performed
in front of children has had to deal with this problem at one time or another.
In His 22 years of
clown existence. Wheeler
has made it a point to never leave a frightened child at any function at
which he performs. How is this done involves a really quite simple formula.
1. Allow the child to decide on and to maintain his or her personal space.
Often this means that you must strongly encourage well meaning but misguided
parents not to try and force the child to approach you.
2. If at all possible, get down to the child's level. (This is
easy for short
3. Immediately learn the frightened the child's name and speak directly
to that child as often as possible throughout your act. However:
4. Never attempt to or even appear to approach the child. Encourage
the child to approach you. If the child is still fearful when you reach the
balloon portion of your act, hold the balloon animal out to the child at
arm's length and encourage the him/her to take it from you.
In my twenty-one years in this greatest of professions, these steps have
only failed me twice (and that was when a well-meaning but misguided adult
kept the frightened child in another room the whole time I was there) If
you follow my suggestions, I can almost guarantee that the child will come
to you at least once (to get a balloon animal), and will probably smile and
speak to you before your gig is over. (By the way, I explained this method
to "Santa Claus" a few years ago, and it worked
for him, too.)
Fellow clowns, do you have additional ideas? Or
is there a topic you would like to see addressed here? E-Mail me at
Clownfacts1@aol.com and I'll include
your comments in future updates to this newsletter