It’s summer, and I just returned home from a wonderful vacation with my family and some friends. We played in the water, slept til we woke without an alarm, and shared wonderful food and conversations.
By the time the week was up, we all felt refreshed and eager to get back home to the work we love.
Why am I sharing this? Because I think it’s easy to forget how important it is to take breaks even from work that makes us happy. To step away from routine and experience a change of pace and scenery. To switch things up.
It doesn’t have to be exotic or expensive to feel like a break. When the kids were younger we used to rent a very rustic, inexpensive cabin on the Washington coast for a few days and we still agree, those were some of our best vacations ever. Even a “stay-cation” can be memorable with some creativity.
How does this relate to parenting or being a young actor? It relates directly, because it is easy to get into a groove where it feels like everything you do is about acting: acting classes, acting camps, coaching sessions, and the endless myriad lessons: dance, voice, etc. Never mind the endless auditions!
There can be a sense that you can never work enough to get better, because every audition can feel like a test where you never know if you are really good enough or prepared enough. Eventually this sense of pressure can wear anyone down, even—or maybe especially—someone who is still young.
Am I advocating NOT doing these things? Of course not! And summer is actually a great time for many of these activities, especially the camps, which can be as fun as they are useful. I know both my daughters loved the acting camps at our local theatre, Bainbridge Performing Arts, and looked forward to them every year when they were growing up.
But kids need to feel like kids too, and even kids who are professional actors, or who want to be professional actors, need to have a sense of downtime occasionally. Even something you love can start to feel like a grind if you never take a break from it.
We returned late last night, and this afternoon Dove was in the studio recording two songs and a voiceover script, Claire was teaching voice to a new student, and I was catching up on emails, phone calls, and planning my next workshop. We could not have been happier.
Sign your kids up for acting camps, acting classes, voice lessons, dance lessons, and everything that makes sense this summer. Just make sure they have a bit of time in there—somewhere—where nothing is scheduled or structured, and they can have the pleasure of being bored, just so they get to create something to do all on their own. When they return to classes and auditions and the real work of being a young actor, they will have new ideas and experiences to bring to their performances, and likely a new pleasure in the process as well.
My book, The Hollywood Parents Guide, available on Amazon contains everything I wish I’d known when Dove and I started this journey, and will save you untold amounts of time, money, and stress. Full of information you MUST know, it also features stories from parents of other kids who’ve made it!
Or book an hour consulting with me to come up with an individualized plan that takes your own unique needs into account. For about the cost of an hour with a professional acting coach, you can get your questions answered and a road map to help you move forward toward your dream.
Invest a little in your kid’s future today.
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