Tips To Hiring the Right Performer

Many childcare centers hire performers. But not every performer is up to working a child care center. Why, because some performers don’t understand the vast difference between the ages of kids. Young children comprehend things differently at different ages. Something that may appeal to a 2 year old, may have the opposite affect on a 8 year old. There is even a difference in how things are perceived by 4 year olds and say 6 year olds. Only 2 years difference, but their brains change rapidly over time. There is a huge amount of growth happening to them and kids develop at different speeds.

This is the reason, every summer I offer 2 different programs. A show for younger aged kids and then a school aged program. A group of 2, 3, 4 and 5 year olds, even 6 year olds will have a show that is very visual, usually quite colorful, and fun. The emphasis is on the fun. The emphasis is NOT on the magic, because to those young ages, the concept of magic is real. What’s ironic, is sometimes kids that are 5 or 6 will tell me, “magic isn’t real”, something they learned from their parents. Often they are told this because when they think of magic, they think of Harry Potter, and he does some frightening things sometimes. So that is why parents will say, ‘magic isn’t real’. But then they see what I do and frankly they leave thinking magic is real, but magic is also fun and silly.

Now for school agers, they don’t get the same tricks as a rule. Their brains are able to comprehend more, they are able to understand more, and frankly, they are often more observant than we realize. So in those cases, the magic needs to be stronger. The tricks not as silly. The emphasis is still upon helping them have a fun time. But also, I try to make kids that come up to help me, I try to make them into stars. I want them to know “I couldn’t have done this without you!!!!” so they are PART of the MAGIC. The level of magic here again, will vary from 7 and 8 year olds to ¬†and 10 year olds and even teens. What they will enjoy, what they will accept and understand is different as they grow up.

And here is a little secret, same goes for adults, different ages prefer different things. The older a person gets, the more we go back to the fun, colorful, stuff that is more about having a good time than it is about the magic. Because, there is a point in life when your perspective totally changes and you realize that life is a gift, and moments, are made to be celebrated. But a person in their 30s, doesn’t usually see the world that way, nor do 20 year olds, or teens and younger.

So when you are looking for an entertainer, make sure they are ‘age appropriate’ for the audience. IF they offer different shows for different ages, even better. BUT if they do the same show for adults that they do for kids, then you might want to avoid that particular entertainer.

TIPS

  1. Ask the performer if they have any experience performing for younger children.
  2. Ask the performer if they have different shows for different ages.
  3. References are always a good way to learn about a new performer.
  4. Reputation. If they’ve been around a while, it should be easy to ask around about their show.
  5. If you are a director of a ‘chain’ center. Go see them at another center.
  6. Be sure to ask if their show is ‘age-appropriate’.
  7. Always remember, price is not a good indicator of quality. Cheaper performers are often cheap for a reason. Buyer beware.