Author Topic: How do you deal with a crying kid?  (Read 5658 times)

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Offline justsomeguytn

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How do you deal with a crying kid?
« on: March 29, 2010, 11:53:17 AM »
Specifically I'm wondering how performers deal with kids that get scared by part of their act and start crying.  Do you stop your act and do something to calm them down, make a joke out of it, or just go on and let the parents deal with it?

Offline Carl Heinz

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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2010, 12:02:11 PM »
I'd think that in an act, you'd just ignore it.

I do street meet/greet and I carry a Lightning Scooter-Horse finger pupped that, with the permission of the parents, I'll try tickling.  If that doesn't work, I'll tug my beard thoughtfully and ask the child whether it knows whether Santa might be watching.  Herself is making a Santa cap that I hope to start using this year.  Then, if I do the Santa bit, I'll pull the cap out of the puppet sack and put it on.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2010, 12:03:14 PM by Carl Heinz »
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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2010, 01:22:30 PM »
Depends what it is that caused the crying. Men - men with beards especially - have the most problem with it but I played one of the villains last year and got downright mean sometimes (not to the kids, but they can misinterpret interactions with other actors or what they overhear and see).

 Sometimes the best solution is to walk away or at least back up and let the kid have some space - parents usually understand, in my experience. Gifts work too. A little token or coin or jewel have saved me from crying kids many times.

Offline Ambrosine

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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2010, 05:19:44 PM »
As a parent and attendee of faire I have my two year old with me at all times, in each situation:

Stage act: let me deal with him if it scared him and he is crying I will remove him from the area so you can continue the act. We may just go to the back and watch from a distance until he is sure it is OK. A respectful parent would do this so as to not disrupt the act and ruin for others.

Street: If you try to calm and do not succeed it is best to back away and let me deal with it again we will most likely see you again at which time if parent persuades the child to try to interact with you again give it another shot. This year my son was very stand offish of a certain fairy the first weekend but by the last (we attend every weekend of BARF) they were best off friends and high fiving at every moment given!.

With both situations it is best to give the child his/her space, the only person who really will know how to deal with the child is the parent and that is who the child is going to look towards for comfort. I myself would not think you cold hearted if you continued your show, that is your job and my child is the one disrupting the show at that point.
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Offline dbaldock

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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2010, 06:03:27 PM »
"Off with their heads!"   :o   ;)    ;D
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Offline Molden

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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2010, 07:31:25 PM »
simple...give 'em an espresso and a puppy....  ;)

THEN let their parents deal wi' 'em sez I!  ;D
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Offline BubbleWright

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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2010, 08:45:59 PM »
Although I am just a playtron, my Renaissance Bubble Machine really attracts the nipperkins. The problems start when parents want to move on to other entertainments and the child (children) put up a fuss, wanting to stay. My response is to ask "How stands the hour?" and upon learning the time, exclaim "Zounds! I must be about my business in another part of the Shire. Tell you what, I'll make bubbles for another minute and then I must leave. Thank thee little Master/Mistress". This works out fine since I initiate the break. It also happens when moving about the Shire I may see a nipper is in extreme fuss mode. Speaking directly to the child I say "Look at this" and then start cranking out bubbles. 99% of the time the tears stop and turn to giggles, much to the relief of the parents.
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Offline stonebiscuit

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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2010, 08:43:40 AM »
I'm a street performer. I'm also very tall, especially for a woman, and quite loud. The first thing I do is lower my voice, kneel down to the kid's level, and if I'm wearing my giant hat, I take it off. If my being larger than life has scared them, I'll try to become a more kid-friendly size. That and a pretty trinket usually help, and can lead into a little song and dance or something. If it doesn't work very quickly, I'll apologize to the parents and back off.

Offline Fugli

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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2010, 07:41:27 AM »
"Off with their heads!"   :o   ;)    ;D

That certainly would quiet them down... but the mess...! Oy!
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Offline GirlChris

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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2010, 09:47:36 AM »
I usually act more scared of them then they are of me. I'll run and hide behind something (usually something that doesn't really hide me, like behind a skinny tree or under a picnic table) and wait them out.

Offline Capt Robertsgrave Thighbiter

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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2010, 12:09:46 PM »
Gut 'em in thier weams and hide the bodies!
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Offline Queen Bonnie

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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2010, 02:45:48 PM »
 Sometimes I say to the child- "your crying is making me so very sad too! How about a smile?" if no smile- "Now I am going to cry with you." And i start crying in a very funny overstated way. The kid forgets to cry because I am doing it way better! it usually ends up in laughs! And a token Wizard stone or pirate coin. I am a kid at heart. i hate to see rennlets crying at faire.
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Offline Queen Margaret

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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2010, 12:22:09 AM »
Sometimes something as simple as taking off your hat or headgear (if it's not too complicated) while you speak quietly to them works.

I've had good luck with "royalty dust." It's nothing more than purple glitter in a cool bottle with a cork. But if you endow it just right, it becomes magic. "If I make you a princess, will you smile?" usually works.

Worst case scenario, a gracious reverance, a smile and an "enjoy thy day" while beating a soft, yet hasty retreat works. Sometimes they're just gonna cry.

Queen Bonnie's right about the "can I cry too?" That's almost always fun and works for every station of character.
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Offline Professor M

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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2010, 09:34:34 AM »
I've often offered to have a "grumpy contest" with the child.  I explain that I can make a better sad face than them, and if they smile, they're going to lose.  Then I make a silly sad face, and if the child keeps fussing I say "You're winning, I have to get grumpier."  I also seem to get to a point where they start to crack a smile.  Then I say "Oh no!  Don't smile!  Don't do it!  Doooonn't do it!"  and the smile gets bigger.  At that point I'm getting sillier, too, so sometimes they point to me and say "You smiled!  You lose!" and at that point they're smiling too.  Other times they just break into a giggle because the big scary Professor now looks so darned foolish they can't stand it.  I know one regular patron whose little girl now challenges me every year.  This kid has a good poker face.
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Offline Morrigan

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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2010, 12:52:56 AM »
It really depends upon why they're crying, but generally the most successful tactic I've found is to cry.

Because my costume changes significantly with each themed weekend, I've often got kids crying around me for various reasons.   

On Fairie or Christmas weekend, it's usually because some parent has thrust their young child into the arms of a strangely-dressed stranger (me) for a photo op.  I start crying too, and either (a) the kid stops and stares in astonishment, or (b) the kid keeps crying and the parents get a funny photo with everybody in the frame bawling.   

On barbarian or halloween weekend, it is usually because I'm scary-looking and I've startled them.  In that case, I back off a little, and sit down and have a good cry.  It surprises them into stopping 90% of the time.   Though, I'll admit, if I can manage to make an older kid (over 12) cry on halloween weekend, I consider it a job well done!

If the kid is crying because of general fatigue, fussiness, or just plain spoiled brat (I'm stationed near the front gate, and at the end of the day it is a veritable sea of cranky children), I give them a wide berth and let the parents deal with it.  There's another kid that WANTS to be entertained just 10 feet down the path.
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Offline gem

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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2010, 02:33:30 PM »
A few years ago, I was standing in line for food with a mom and her clearly completely exhausted toddler. He was shrieking and sobbing, and you could tell he'd just had enough and needed to vent. His mom was letting him, holding him gently by the shoulder, but otherwise ignoring him as she completed her business with the food vendor.  The boy was sobbing uncontrollably, "I wanted to pay! I want to give her a quarter!"  When Mom was finished, she calmly turned to her little boy and handed him a quarter and said, "There you go. Give it to her."

The little boy was so startled he *instantly* fell silent. It was obvious he'd been crying to cry, and really had no idea what to do if he got his wish! LOL

Offline BLAKDUKE

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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2010, 06:12:19 PM »
I have found that a gag and a portable kennel works quite well.
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Offline VIII

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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2010, 11:07:33 AM »
At a non-faire event, we were at a wedding in an Old West town.  When someone's kid started crying after the wedding, and the parents did NOTHING, I said, "Who brought the wolf?!?" and started howling every time the kid bawled.  "HOWWWWWLLLLL!  There goes that wolf again!  Better corall all the womenfolk and their kids, 'lest they's a-gonna get et by the wolf!"

It eventually worked as I got several of the kids, including the bawler, to run around town howling!

Oh, I guess I can't recommend this for Faire; someone might think it's a mid-day Wolf-run!
« Last Edit: July 01, 2010, 11:08:49 AM by VIII »
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Offline holierthanthou

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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2010, 02:23:48 PM »
I tend not to scare the children, but the adults. (especially those who went to Catholic school).

I get a lot of children who run to me due to my animals and then stand back.  I soften and lower the range of my voice when they seem scared.  Works the same with animals and children.  When I see a wee one cry, I ask them why?  It is usually such a startle for a complete stranger to ask them why they are crying, they stop.  If they are shy they hide their face and I chat with the adult and move on. 

Read the adult.  Sometimes crying has nothing to do with you, but that the child is hungry, tired or heaven forbid bored.  The parent usually knows their own child enough to take care of the child.

Then again there are those parents that totally neglect their child or their child's actions.  I say feed those parents to the dragons!
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Offline GirlChris

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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2010, 10:17:24 AM »
Ugh. I found out how NOT to deal with a scared child.

My pirate character is crazy and slightly animalistic. This is a delicate balancing act, because if I act too crazy it's uncomfortable for people, if I'm not crazy enough it's not funny. So I get led around on a leash, but it's tied around my waist and not my neck. I tell people that I bite, but I don't say WHAT I bite.

So I'm being led around on the leash. A parent leads their little girl up to us to get a picture. The girl shies away and hides behind Daddy's legs. So I take off my big hat and kneel down to make myself smaller and less threatening. I speak quietly, lessening the accent and smiling with no teeth. I describe myself like a puppy, telling her that I have to be on leash because I'm not housebroken, that I like to have my ears scratched, asking if she has any treats for me and offering to do tricks, etc.

The little girl starts to come out from behind Daddy. After all, I'm not that scary.

Then the person on the other end of the leash, who hasn't put a lot of thought into the balancing act, calls out to the kid "This is Mad Mary! She bites people!"

The child, convinced by this one sentence that I'm going to eat her, is inconsolable. Exit, stage left.

Offline marirengrl

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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2011, 09:30:30 AM »
Specifically I'm wondering how performers deal with kids that get scared by part of their act and start crying.  Do you stop your act and do something to calm them down, make a joke out of it, or just go on and let the parents deal with it?

The Nottingham Players (whom I perform with occasionally) have created awesome ways to help just about any situation. Talk to them.

With crying kids they have a great trick~ one by one they all start crying too until the entire troupe is in comic sobbing hysterics , by then the audience is howling, and the kid finally laughs too!

Offline Finnian

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Re: How do you deal with a crying kid?
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2011, 11:02:37 AM »
I'm in a different sort of entertaining role, as a green, furry, horned, hooved mute goat dude....it can be a bit much for some kids, though so far most are just really intrigued. If I ever have a problem with a kid being scared/upset, I just have the ability to play that I'm scared of them as well. Most times this diffuses it, if it doesn't work, there isn't much else I can do since it is an appearance issue, aside from leave or what not.

 

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