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Topic: Managing Out Of Hand Youngsters!
Message: Posted by: Steve Landavazo (Sep 28, 2001 04:01PM)
Hello everyone!

I'm sure some of you have great methods for managing the, "hard to manage" at your kids shows..

Wanted to ask your opinions, thoughts on this!

Thank You!

Sincerely, Steve Landavazo :)
Message: Posted by: Dave Lewis (Oct 1, 2001 08:50PM)
I usually include the loudmouth in the show by having him/her be a helper or assistant. If this doesn't work and the kid is beyond my control, I would stop the show and enlist the help of the parent who hired me. So far, I haven't ever had to resort to this. Trying to joust or spar with a troublesome kid is a no-win battle, for either of you. Sometimes the other kids themselves will police the situation and let the kid know it's not a good idea to continue with the behavior.

Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Oct 1, 2001 09:36PM)
If this type of behavior is distracting, and the kid is intentionally trying to ruin my show, I will stop, look at him and firmly say, "Buddy, you need to stop (whatever he's doing), please. Thank you." I don't like to "reward" misbehavior by bringing the troublemaker up front. I think this encourages more misbehavior.

Mind you, I'm referring here to REAL misbehavior. Sometimes, kids are just involved in the show and interacting, and some performers misconstrue that as "heckling" or bad behavior. If they are talking ABOUT the trick or asking me a question or just having fun and enjoying the show, I just run with it and have fun with them.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I have been told MANY times (performing or not), by parents, teachers and other magicians, that I have a gift with handling children. Many people have told me they've never seen an adult so good with kids.

Here's the secret: JUST PLAY WITH THEM! Have fun with them--imagine with them and pretend the magic is real and be silly and loosen up! I have NEVER met a kid who doesn't LOVE to have and adult PLAY with them.

If you don't love kids, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, NEVER do another kids show!
Message: Posted by: Steve Landavazo (Oct 2, 2001 07:12AM)
Terrific advice Great Scott!

Thank You Very Much!

Steve :yawn:
Message: Posted by: magiker (Nov 3, 2001 01:12PM)
If they get out of hand I usually stop and try to calm them down saying that the magic will continue when things are better.

For the big trouble maker I will usually ask if he/she has a problem and also why he/she is disruptive, if this doesnīt work then call a parent.

Have had only one occasion and found out that the boy did it for attention as parents seemed to ignore him a lot. Used the first method and it worked



Message: Posted by: Bengi (Nov 4, 2001 04:06AM)
I agree with Dave... at least in my own experience. Most kids are really interested in the show. And when another kid acts up, they are usually told by the other kids to "BE QUIET!!!" Usually the problem "demon" is calmed by the youngsters themselves. If not, I ask the parents to get involved. I never scold or take it into my own hands, because some parents take offense to that (even though it is THEIR child causing the disturbance).


Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Dec 4, 2001 11:05AM)
Hi, This is my first post on this forum so... Just so you know a bit about me I live in the U.K. I am a full time magician I perform for children and adults (I could stop either and still make a good living but I like the diversity) I am 40 yrs old.

OK now to get to the subject of difficult children. I think the first thing is to try and avoid getting them to start with!


1. I like to have a tight show this means knowing what comes next and not continualy changing the act ;)

2. If you understand a little NLP then you know that there are move toward (motivated by reward) and move away (motivated by removal or denial of rewards) from people (this includes children) which is why the following or something similar will help avoid difficult behaviour "now during the show I will be looking for more people like xxxxx to come up onto the stage and help me with the magic and I look for people who are, sitting down, quietly, on their bottoms with either his or her hand nicely and quietly in the air like this. I do not pick people who are talking while I am talking, being rude being silly or going me! me! me!"

this is adapted from a David Ginn line and worked over NLP motivations

3. The only time I would pick someone that did play up would be if they were the birthday child and I was obliged to use them

4. I reward helpers with balloon models (multies) I usually make all the children at a birthday :birthday: party a balloon. however, the non helpers only get 1 balloon models this ensures that if you work for them again they are still motivated to help.

hope this is of help

Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Dec 4, 2001 11:51AM)
Scott makes a very important point:

You must differentiate between REAL misbehavior and a child who is just over-enthusiastic.

It would be terrible to "shoot down" a kid just because he was excited.

On the other hand, a REAL troublemaker deserves what he gets!

Fortunately, the real troublemakers are few and far between.


Peter Marucci

Message: Posted by: markmcdermott (Dec 4, 2001 11:07PM)
I agree with p.b.jones. At the start of my show I tell the children I will be looking for lots of helpers but will only pick those who are sitting down nice and quite, folding their arms, and pulling a funny face. :fruity: This stops it sounding like hard rules. I then practice their counting and their clapping and shouting :rotf: then say "O.K. I am looking for helpers... who remembers the rule" Normally everyone is completely silent. :P

I can then use this during my show if things are getting out of hand. "O.K. another helper is needed soon I am looking"

Mark :patty:
Message: Posted by: Andy Charlton (Dec 6, 2001 06:43AM)
I donít get too many problems with this, but if someone oversteps the mark I let them know straight away, and very clearly that it stops NOW! I am talking here about swearing, bullying other children etc, not just enthusiasm. I say "Noone swears during my shows, not even me, if you do it again you will be asked to leave." So far Iíve never had to do it more than once in a show. I think it gets the point across that "This is fun, letís not do anything that will spoil it." Some people may think that this is overbearing, but I have seen too many other shows ruined by kids pushing the boundaries back and back and spoiling it for everyone.
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Dec 6, 2001 08:15AM)
Actually, the hardest thing I do in kids' shows is to get them hyped up!

I recall one show, a couple of years back, where the adult in charge said something like:

"The magician is here so I want you all to sit up straight, pay attention, and be very quiet."

It took me half the show to get them loosened up again!


Peter Marucci

Message: Posted by: Michael Peterson (Dec 6, 2001 09:03AM)
If nothing else, you can refer to my post about carrying a gun in your waistband. :stare:

:rotf: :rotf: :rotf: :rotf: :rotf: :rotf:

Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Dec 12, 2001 12:42AM)
If your really good, you could try to vanish them until the show is over then as a finale, produce them.

Wishful thinking. :jesterhat:
Message: Posted by: magicadam (Dec 30, 2001 09:25AM)
Hi, I am new here.

I got this piece of advice from Jack Delvin's video on childrens magic.

Tell the troublesome kid to "stop showing off".

Kids do not like being told this publicly, in front of all his/her friends. This usually works!


Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Dec 30, 2001 10:13AM)

I advise against that approach. When you do that, you set yourself up to be disliked by the child, the parents of the child, and those who feel what you said is inappropriate.

There are many other ways, of which some have been posted here. Children like to show off, that is why they say, "Turn it Around" etc. They want their friends to believe they were not fooled by your trickery.

Children entertaining is an Art Form requiring quite a bit of skill in understanding the dynamics of the different age groups.

A good children's show involves a lot of audience participation. When you shut down one child, how many others will be shut down because of it. The "best" children entertainers thrive on the comments made by the child. These magicians' routines are built around it.

Please consider this to be a modern day approach, even though there are others who may agree with your approach.



Dennis Dowhy (800) 927-6671


Message: Posted by: magicadam (Dec 30, 2001 10:42AM)
Yeh, I see your point. It is a last resort however.

Message: Posted by: DarryltheWizard (May 8, 2002 06:30PM)
I've taught kids of all ages for over 33 years and the best advice that works for me is to play along with the kids and have fun! And if at all possible ,I watch the kids interact before and during the show. This enables me to pick good assistants, and when the kids realize that I'm truly interested in them, and that I'm not there to mainly decapitate or maim them as some of the parents warned them ahead of time, then they give me their full attention and co-operation.
A problem audience can result when the adults leave the room to drink or smoke ,etc. and leave you with 95 hyperactive hellions. I always ask that adults are present for crowd control so that you can concentrate on your performance.
Darryl the Wizard :dancing: :dancing:
Message: Posted by: Maynooth (May 11, 2002 04:26AM)
I've been fairly lucky I suppose and I can only come up with one kid (yes a baby goat) that was a real problem. He yelled out abuse, was disruptive and was just plain obnoxious. Of course his parents were in the crowd and rather than being concerned about his behaviour they were egging him on. :mad: So the reason for his behaviour was very obviously past training.

However, a gentleman at a magic shop once gave me advice for a heckler stopper prop. I truely didn't think it would work when he suggested it but it was fairly easy to make up so I happened to have it in my case and was at a stage where I was more than willing to give anything a try.

The prop is:
about fifteen inches of black plastic (PVC)water pipe with six feet of ribbon and two white plastic pipe ends.
The ribbon is fed through the black tube and glued onto the bottom along with one of the white ends. The other end of the ribbon is glued to the other white end but the end is not glued to anything else. The ribbon is then fed into the tube with a wand or pencil and the end cap is placed loosely on the end of the black pipe.

This now resembles a wand.

When the real trouble maker proved that he had no intention of letting anyone enjoy the show I gave him the wand with the fixed end in his hand and asked him to wave the wand for the trick I was doing. The end cap shot off the wand and the ribbon kept it from disappearing. I then looked a little shocked and said, "Oh, could you just put that ribbon back for me, please."
He spent the rest of the show poking the ribbon back into the pipe and left me alone to do the show.

As I said earlier, when I heard it I wasn't convinced but I made it anyway. I have only ever used it once but I always have it in my case and I was glad I had it on that occassion.

Most kids just want to enjoy themselves and even the hecklers are usually fun to have in the crowd as long as they aren't plain mean.

Just think how they think and mostly you're away.

:banana: :banana: :banana:
Message: Posted by: Jeb Sherrill (May 19, 2002 07:57PM)
Great idea. I must try it.

:dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:
Message: Posted by: Zorak (Nov 25, 2002 03:00PM)
I hope you don't mind me quoting a page from my book "KIDDIKAZAM", on the subject of control.
The most frequently asked question by kidshow workers is, "What do you do when kids get disruptive?" I have heard a variety of answers on that question. First of all, if you plan every stage of your show starting with the arrival on through your departure, you have less chance of the disruptions happening. Take some of the responsibility.
If the kids are calling out, "I've seen that before!", at show after show, maybe they have. Maybe it is time for a face-lift. You don't have to change your act--just change the facade!
Still, you are going to occasionally get a kid who may have seen you at Johnny's party. When you are doing alot of shows and leaving flyers, a networking occurs and it is not unusual to have many of the same kids at someone else's party. When you talk to the client on the phone, ask her how they got your number. Many times it was that Johnny was at Bryan's party and saw you. So when Johnny says he saw that, he did! He's just trying to show how smart he is. Don't let it bother you. Do your act. Do it well. The late Bruce Posgate of Canada had a way he dealt with this. When he would pick up a prop and a kid would shout that "he had seen that"--Bruce would put the prop down and exclaim, "Well, it was a really neat trick, but since YOU saw it, I won't do it!" The other kids would protest and he would do the trick. This works but it does make a kid a villian, in a sense. I don't use that. Another way is the magician brings the "noisy" kid up on stage with him, sometimes making him do something that makes him look ridiculous. I don't do that. I neither reward the child by using him in my show (unless it is the birthday child) nor do I punish him by making him look the fool. We are not there to be disciplinarians, or babysitters. We are there as entertainers.
Some performers squelch the disruption by saying, "Shhh, that will be our secret." That's not bad. That sometimes works. The way I deal with it is I go on with my show, ignoring the remark. I know, from my experience that within minutes, I will have this very kid so captivated in the show he will shut-up and be enjoying the proceedings as much as everyone else.
That is why it is important to build an entertaining show. The control is built in. A kid can watch the same cartoon time after time and sit there engrossed. Yes, they have seen it before, but that is part of the fun for them. :bigdance:
Message: Posted by: johnpert (Nov 26, 2002 06:04PM)
I like Steve Taylor's approach: There are two ways to have fun, first, by clapping (lets practice) second, by laughing (practic). This tells them what we should do.

I prefer not to say anthing about sitting quietly etc. unless needed, otherwise, it may affect the tempo of energy I prefer from the kids.

If a child is misbehaving in a disruptive way, i will quietly bend over and ask them to behave, and tell them how that can be done. being at their level usually helps.

sometimes, i ignore the child because attention is what they want.

If needed, I'll say that I'm looking for helpers who are quiet and sitting nicely. Therefore, I'd never reward the misbehaving child.

Perhaps, it might work to bring them up for a quick "bit". Consider having a little fun with them in front of the others (do as I do routine, it could be as simple as clapping hands, engaging in knock knock jokes, etc). something short to get them involved, maybe on yourside.

just my thoughts,

Message: Posted by: SpiffnikHopkins (Nov 26, 2002 06:52PM)
in my experiance the best way to deal with these kids is to be honest with them. Just say, "hey little buddy (in a frienly tone) I'm try'n to put on a good show! haha yeah I guess mb you HAVE seen this one before but could you do me a favor and sit tight until I get to something mb you havn't seen. Thanks man!"

Something very honest and firendly never fails. Kid's are NOT STUPID. they can understand that messege, and they appreciet your honesty with them. I mean, they already knew what you just said, but now they feel like tyou thought enough of them to be up front with them about it.

Just my 2 cents.