There goes all of the screaming and fighting. It’s the twentieth time reading the same line, and your child just can’t seem to get it.
We completely understand where you’re coming from. You want your child to succeed, but they (and you) can get frustrated at the smallest things.
Memorising lines isn’t easy, and it’s like that you and your child become frustrated from time to time.
But, don’t worry. You’ve come to the right place. We’re here to teach you how to help your child with lines and script memorisation. With these tips, you and your child will be feeling much better. Just keep reading.
How to Help Your Child With Lines and Script Memorisation
1. Take a Break
Whether you or your child is having a tantrum, it’s likely that you both need to take a step back. Staring at a piece of paper or a laptop for an extended period of time isn’t going to help anyone’s memory.
Scheduling breaks about every 45 minutes is key to ensuring that your child doesn’t experience burn out. Give them time to play outside and grab a snack. For yourself, you may need a breather in another room.
All you and/or your child needs is 15 minutes. You’d be amazed at how much this time can reset the entire mood.
You may think that taking this break will pull the child away from all of the progress they and you have made so far, but this isn’t true. In fact, researchers have shown that taking these breaks increases concentration. This means that your child will be more likely to memorise the information after having a break.
If you and/or your child don’t take regular breaks, you’ll find a decrease in creativity and productivity. In fact, it could affect them during auditions and cause them to make common audition mistakes.
Set an alarm and make taking these breaks a priority for both of you. By doing so, you may be finished with memorising lines quicker than either of you anticipated.
2. Use a Highlighter
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it still does wonders. There’s nothing better than being able to clearly see which lines on the page are yours. It’s even more helpful for children who get distracted by all of the words on the page.
Instead of having to scan for their lines, they can easily pick out their parts in blocks. By being able to concentrate solely on their material, they’ll learn their lines faster.
Highlighting sections in different colours can also help children associate different moods with different lines. Some people may highlight in yellow to show happiness or highlight in blue to show sadness.
Your child may prefer different colours or no colours at all. Work with your child to find out what works best for them. Remember, this is their time to shine and figure out how they want to approach the work that they need to do.
3. Understand the Story
If your child doesn’t understand the entire story, it’s unlikely that they’ll completely soak in their lines and what they mean. Of course, your child can learn lines without any kind of context, but it makes it harder than it should be.
If your child can read the full interaction between characters and understand why their character is saying these specific lines, it will make it easier for them to understand and memorise these lines.
Take the time to run through the entire script booklet with your child. Even if you only go through scenes that they’re associated with, it’s important to take the time to establish the relationships between characters and why they’re saying and doing what the writers noted in the script.
By understanding the storyline, your child will be able to make connections that they didn’t realise existed before. Plus, it will make the entire script more understandable. Once your child has made these connections, he or she can truly begin memorising the script deeper than the surface-level lines.
By taking the time to find the deeper meaning, you’ll be helping your child prepare more readily for their upcoming audition.
4. Forget the Emotions
Hear us out! We know we just talked about having a great depth to the words that your child is saying.
But, it’s important to focus on the words. At least, this is at first.
You don’t want to overwhelm your child by expecting a Broadway-level performance on the first shot. Make sure that you’re worried about the words primarily and then moving onto emotions, body language, and more.
If you expect your child to recite words, mean them, emote them, and express them, it’s not going to go well.
Don’t expect a professional performance on the first run-through. Build one layer after another as your child becomes more and more comfortable with the lines. After a few correct recitations, you can ask your child to begin adding emotion and depth to the lines.
Tapping into these emotions is especially important if the auditions representatives are asking your child to prepare a monologue for his or her upcoming audition. Don’t leave the emotions out entirely. Just don’t get caught up in them too early.
5. Repeat Lines in the Weirdest of Times
It may seem weird to practise your lines outside of the allotted practise time, but it may actually help your child learn their lines more effectively. Asking them a random line at a random time may help them recollect their memory of their script throughout the day.
You can ask them to fill in the blank or respond to a line you say. As long as you’re not asking them every 30 minutes, a quick one-line quiz shouldn’t be a problem. This is especially if you’re focusing on lines that they had trouble with while they were practising.
For example, you may ask them about one of the lines that they had trouble with right before they go to bed and then again in the morning. This repetition outside of practice time is important to maintaining your child’s memory over time.
Just be sure not to go overboard with the line memorisation check-ins. Your child may become overwhelmed if you’re attempting to ask about lines all day every day.
So, as our example shows, you should stretch these check-ins out and make sure that they’re very short. Only ask about a line or two and make sure that your child isn’t doing anything important while you’re asking.
If they’re working on homework, it’s not the right time to ask. If they’re hanging out with their friends, it’s not the right time to ask.
By finding the right times and right lines, you can help your child quickly review their most difficult lines outside of practice.
6. Change Your Child’s Practice Time
Work with your child to figure out when the best practice time for them is. You may find that the time that you two are currently working on lines isn’t working for your child.
We understand that life can get busy easily, but it’s important to work around both of your schedules to make sure that you’re not wearing out your child.
For example, you may be practising lines when your child gets home from school. However, this can lead to your child becoming burnt out since they just spend hours and hours at school. They need a quick break in order to be able to focus on memorising lines.
If you’d like to make the most of their memory capacity, it’s important to note that researchers have found that children learn better before bed. To increase the chance that they’ll retain the lines that you’re going over, it’s important to review it in the morning.
By practising before bed and refreshing your child’s memory in the morning before school, you could be making your practice time more efficient.
Talk with your child about when they’d like to practise their lines. They may have an idea as to when they’d retain information the best. Assuming that you can help them during that time, you should try to make the change.
7. Refrain From Work-Based Scolding
Don’t attribute your child’s ability to memorise things quickly to their ability to see their friends or have free time. Ultimately, it’s your child’s decision as to whether or not they’re going to continue with the work that they’re doing. If you’re basing their non-work activities on their work performance, you’re acting like a boss rather than a supporter.
If your child were working at a restaurant, their ability to sell a piece of cake wouldn’t affect their free time. It may affect their work performance, but it should not affect their life at home.
We strongly encourage you to make the separation between work, school, and home apparent. Just like you enjoy the separation between work and personal lives, your child does too. Your child should never question what they’re focusing on in a particular moment.
In fact, we recommend making separate spaces for all of these things if possible. Perhaps, they have a desk for schoolwork, a guest room for memorising lines, and a living room for hanging out with family.
Along with the physical separation in spaces, it’s helpful to make clearcut times as well. Maybe you decide that family time is at 7 PM. By making family time at 7 PM every night, you’ll be helping your child establish a routine with these different components of his or her life.
8. Learn With Your Child
Don’t be afraid to step into the work with your child. Arguably, one of the best parts of being a parent is that your child pulls you into interests and hobbies that you’d never stepped into before or haven’t stepped into in a while. It’s a youthful feeling.
By working with your child on their lines, you’re showing them that you’re in full support of everything that they’re doing. If you learn another character’s lines, you’ll be able to (1) help your child learn their lines more effectively and (2) show that you’re fully invested in the interests that your child is pursuing.
Plus, researchers have found that memorising information – even at older ages – stimulates your brain. You can alter your brain’s neural pathways and improve your brain’s ability to store new knowledge.
There’s nothing bad that can come out of practising with your child. So, next time that they’re working on memorising lines, try to jump into the activity with them.
Your child may know some ways to memorise lines that you’ve never thought about before. These skills can help you memorise other things in life as well.
Taking this time with your child advances their career and helps you with your memory. It’s a winning situation all around.
From Aspiring Youths to Successful Child Actors
We hope that all of these tips on how to help your child with lines and script memorisation will put your child on the road to success. Especially when your child is just starting out, it’s difficult to balance everything. But, there is a way to find the groove.
When it comes to child acting, all your child needs is perseverance. With you by their side, they’ve got everything they need to succeed and become one of the many successful child actors.
Don’t forget to come to our team here at Bubblegum Casting to get your child on the road to more acting opportunities.