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Friday, March 25, 2011

5-Minute Courage Workout: A Fate Worse than Death

Compiled and written by Lisa and Jennifer:


Given that public speaking is well known to be #1 on most people's list of dreaded activities, let's start with how to coach your child to give a speech, so that standing in the spotlight doesn't feel like a fate worse than death!


Here's our 5-Minute Courage Workout on Public Speaking by age range, and remember, all workouts are more effective when followed regularly!




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  • Toddler: start with your favorite nursery rhyme. Make it a game of call and response.  For example, teach "Itsy-Bitsy Spider", sing it a few times, then start taking turns with the lines with your child.  Both of you stand in front of a mirror and now play the game!
  • Preschooler: introduce "Roses and Thorns" at dinner time.  What was your best thing about today?  What was your worst thing? Model respectful listening and taking turns as the center of attention.
  • Early elementary student: offer your child the opportunity to say the dinner blessing.  Print off or write out a few possible dinner verses, blessings, or graces.  Have your child cut them out, put them in a grab bag for some mystery, and pull one out at dinner to say standing at the head of the table. 
  • Upper elementary student or 'tween: on your way to school together, or returning home at night (or another convenient time), ask your child to read out loud to you from the book they are reading.  At your next family gathering, ask your child to retell a favorite myth, legend, fable, or family story. 
  • High schooler or teen: play "After-Dinner Speeches" at a family gathering. Everyone writes down the title of a fictitious speech (such as "How snow contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire"; "How spaghetti was discovered"; "My most successful invention"; "If teens ruled the world"), and puts them in a hat;  the first speaker pulls out a topic at random and delivers a 2-minute speech with no hesitations or repetitions, and then passes the hat to the next person.  Don't worry if you don't know a thing about your ridiculous topic!  The goal is to deliver the speech with so much authority and poise that you impress everyone with your amazing knowledge and confidence!
The problem with fear is that it stops you in your tracks.  A powerful way to conquer a fear is to break it into manageable steps, move forward through it, gain momentum, and celebrate your success!  For example, asking some children to deliver an unscripted speech might take social courage, but for others it might take more intellectual courage.   Review the Six Types of Courage to figure out which types your child needs to complete this workout.

If you want more 5-Minute Courage Workouts...

Here's our 5-Minute Courage Workout on Navigating the Neighborhood5-Minute Courage Workout: Talking Dirty, and our 5-Minute Courage Workout on Playing With Fire.

2 comments:

  1. I wish someone would have taken the time out to help me through public speaking as a child. However, since my last job as a substance abuse counselor and having to conduct group therapy that forced me to be able to speak in public.

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  2. Based on your experience, ThaiHoa, do you suppose you'll work on some of these experiences with your child? We would love to hear how it goes, or if you come up with some other suggestions while you're at it.
    Thanks for the feedback!

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