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Child Modeling: Lights, Camera, Learning (page 2)

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Updated on Nov 30, 2011

· Relax. Your kid can learn to take potentially stressful or high-pressure situations in stride, a skill that will be useful for exams, job interviews and many other situations in life. When mistakes happen, be a relaxed role model and don't overreact. Instead, encourage having fun while trying your best. Don't stress if you forget paperwork, your child ends up with wrinkled clothes, or spills juice on her dress before a casting call. She'll get much more out of the experience if she's not constantly worrying about what could go wrong.

· Be a role model. If you emphasize looks, your child will too. Instead, focus on being professional—saying "please" and "thank you," being punctual, waiting quietly and listening—and emphasize that her behavior is more important than her appearance. Don't be pushy, pester the casting agents or criticize the other children. Avoid focus on landing the job, and help your child enjoy the experience for what it is.

· Increase your child's self-esteem. Contrary to common stereotypes about the modeling industry, child models aren't expected to be stick-skinny, and parents should be wary of any agency encouraging your child to diet or lose weight. Your child will hear many admiring compliments during casting and photo shoots, and you can build her self-esteem even more by reinforcing the praise she receives on set: "The photographer loved your big happy smile!"

· Check your motives. Think critically about the reasons you entered the entertainment business to make sure modeling is your child's dream, not yours. If she doesn't like striking a pose, let her bow out. North Carolina State University found that competition can be harmful when it solely benefits the parents, or if moms and dads are overly involved. Reliving your own missed opportunities through your little one could be harmful to her happiness.

Above all, make it fun. Driving to various modeling jobs is the perfect opportunity for some one-on-one bonding and conversation. Enjoy the chance to spend some quality time with your child, and don't forget the other really significant educational advantage a modeling career can provide—college funds!

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