10 ideas that can help fill your child's confidence bucket

inspiring children to be confident

Over the years parents have shared with me thoughts like 'I wish that my child would':
  • join in more
  • participate, interact
  • put their hand up 
  • speak up
  • communicate more
  • try new things
  • be more assertiv, 
  • develop new friendships….
And that all comes down to confidence. 

Confidence is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as:

The quality of being certain of your abilities or of having trust in people, plans, or the future.

Whilst personality plays a role in determining the level of confidence we have, becoming “certain of our abilities” takes a great deal of nurturing and development from all those who interact with a child.

Parents, family, educators, members of the wider community (doctors etc) all play an instrumental role in modelling and instilling confidence in children.

I think of confidence as a bucket with a tiny hole in the bottom. We need to fill the bucket all day, every day. Throughout our lives, we might lose traces through the hole in the bucket.

This loss could be defined as our learning when we grow from our experiences. Such as if we fall when riding - we learn that we must keep pedaling!

These loses are countered with the consistent filling of the bucket from those who surround us, thus keeping our confidence supply abundant.

One of the reasons I am so passionate about teaching drama is the role I get to play in contributing to the growth of a student’s confidence.

Here are 10 ideas that help fill the confidence bucket!

The classic move - Costume dress up

All kids love to dress up!  It allows children to let their imaginations take charge, developing confidence with stepping into the role of other characters.

Neutral costumes work well such as an unmarked cape.

One day it might be for a super hero the next day for queen from a far off land!

Rhyme and Sing it

I cannot emphasize enough how important daily use rhymes (actions), poems, songs and stories are in supporting students confidence and literacy development, particularly younger children.

Relax and unwind

Tension can accompany shyness.

Relaxation plays a critical role in preparing our body to let the creativity flow.

Breathing, centering and relaxation exercises are very useful tools to have in our back pocket for any situation!  

My students enjoy breathing like:

Hissing snakes - breath in through the nose 2, 3,4 then out through the mouth 2,3,4 hissing like a snake.
Hoppy rabbits - 4 short nose twitches 2,3,4 then long exhale through the nose
Hibernating bears -  Inhale through the nose 2,3,4 Pause 1,2 exhale through the nose 2,3,4  Pause 1,2 repeat.

Retell a Story

Retelling a story in front of an audience is a great way for children to grow confidence in front of their peers.

By sharing a story in their own words and using character voices, provides children with a great learning experience that adds to the bucket.

Once students are comfortable with familiar stories, they could make up their own, along with giving short talks or sharing observations.

Mime it

Mime is an excellent way to build confidence as a performer as it focuses solely on movement, gesture and facial expressions to convey a message or situation.

Without speaking children can become comfortable with their space, other students and portraying a message using their own actions.

Role Play

A role play is where by a short scene is created based on simple story line. The story is based on realistic characters and situations.

Example: You are taking your cat to the Vet, but the cat refuses to get out of the carry cage, what will you do? 

By taking on the role of another character, children learn how to interact in a situation they may have some knowledge of but not necessarily have faced before, which is a great way to build confidence!

Speak it & Move it

A great voice warm up is to get students to say a line of dialogue as different characters.

Eg: Say - “Quick, ice the birthday cake!” as if you are the … queen, principal, a cat, doctor, dinosaur, inventor, goblin. Add in emotions - sad queen etc…  

Or add movement, walk as if you are surprised inventor… etc

This is a simple yet effective way for children to build confidence with character development.  

Team Build

Having opportunity to work collaboratively with others is key to developing social skills, self esteem and confidence.  

Although we collaborate through all improvised work, specific cooperative activities are a fun way for students to get to know each other and build confidence and trust in performing together.

I particularly like this link for great cohesion inspiration!

Experience the Theatre

Going to the theatre is a great way for children to see polished performance models and reinforces self confidence with the connection, - I enjoyed that performance, I would like to be able to do that too - and I can and I will :)

Also, as teachers modeling performance techniques for your students is important. This demonstrates to them that it’s fun to pretend and delve into the imagination.

If you lead the way it paves the way for them to follow.

Positive Feedback

Our words as a teacher are critical. Our feedback must be encouraging and supportive to enable confidence to bloom.

A simple and effective feedback  technique is: the combination of positive, constructive and then another positive statement.

Keep comments useful and substantial to enable growth.

Here's an example of feedback given to a child who is taking part in a characterisation exercise:

Positive: Great job because I could see you were elderly by the way you bent your back as you moved.

Constructive: Could you have pretended to hold a walking stick too?

Positive: The way you wobbled your voice when you spoke sounded convincing too!  Awesome thinking!

To sign off...

Sunshine Drama classes are a positive and fun way that children can explore their creativity, in a safe, encouraging atmosphere. 

The drama environment helps children discover themselves and build their self-assurance.

Children who become involved in drama classes learn to speak expressively and articulately, co-operate and compromise with others.

These lifelong skills are hugely beneficial to a student’s development of confidence!

Classes start July 29th. Here's the lesson timetable.

Curious about drama classes for your child?

Come for a free lesson at Sunshine Drama

Sunshine Drama offers creative drama classes for preschoolers to Year Eight.

Classes enable students to explore creative thinking, build confidence and become effective communicators and performers.

Our term three season starts on 29 July at the Karori Recreation Centre and you are welcome to come along with your child to experience what Jenae Ryan and Sunshine Drama has to offer at no cost to you. 

Here's what makes Sunshine Drama Sunny!

  • Grow in confidence and self esteem
  • Opportunity to let the imaginative thinking flow
  • Extension of listening skills
  • Develop effective speaking and performance skills 
  • Participating in fun and engaging drama games 
  • Experience performing in front of an audience
  • Form new friendships outside of school
  • Let children explore their 'inner creative monkey!'

try a drama class for freeTo join us for a free / no obligation ‘check us out' lesson please contact Jenae Ryan on 0274 380 533 or at

If you do decide to enrol your child, fees will be charged on a pro-rata basis for the remainder of the term. 

5 fun, economical & creative school holiday activities in Wellington!

5 fun, economical & creative school holiday activities ideas for July in Wellington!

School holidays are just around the corner. Check out some of these great activities happening around the capital this July!

New Zealand Police Museum - Police Dog Puppets

Description: “Make a police dog finger puppet in this creative and fun craft workshop for our youngest recruits. Each child takes home their own puppet. (Note: young children will require the assistance of a caregiver to complete their puppet).”

Location: Papakowhai Rd, Papakowhai, Porirua - Mana, Wellington

Dates: Monday 10 July 2017 – Friday 14 July 2017 2:00pm – 2:45pm

Age: 5+

Cost: Child Ticket $5.00

Bookings: Essential

Contact: NZ Police Museum (04) 238 3141

10 benefits your child may get from taking creative drama lessons

Kids doing creative drama

10 benefits your child may get from taking creative drama lessons with Sunshine Drama

If you’ve found this page, chances are you're looking to convince yourself why you should send your child to drama lessons. Frankly if you’ve got this far, just send them! Send them to Sunshine Drama!

But if you need to know some of the benefits that your child may gain from taking classes, have a read below.
  1. Accomplishing role play, movement, mime, improvisation, team work and using props imaginatively etc, provides fun and meaningful learning experiences that lead to students feeling confident, happy with a strong sense of self esteem.
  2. Children will learn to think on their feet. Or head, depending on the exercise!
  3. Through mime (conveying action, character, or emotion using only gesture, facial expression, and movement), students will develop their non verbal communication skills.
  4. Drama classes provide the opportunity to express their creative energy with out fear of failure in a supportive and positive environment.
  5. Learning by doing is one of the greatest ways to remember something. Learning how to be confident as you become confident  is treasured learning that will stay with a child forever. 
  6. Fast motion. Stop motion. Slow motion. Kids will learn how to change their gears mid moment, honing their ability to listen and follow instructions. 
  7. If there’s one fear adults often have, it’s speaking in public in front of an audience. Creative drama helps children with learning to use their voice effectively and speak and perform in front of their peers. As students do this more regularly, the more confident they will become. 
  8. Who doesn’t love dressing up?
  9. A child’s imagination knows no bounds. They will learn to create the most complex characters from different ideas, scene or props. Through a fun, playful environment, the true creative level of a child will come out. 
  10. Carpe Diem has almost become a clich├ęd saying, but seizing the day and moment is what drama is all about. Letting children have their own moments of self-discovery and growth as they share the fun and joy that drama brings is truly a special gift.