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NJJ
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How do you handle kids who are in their own little dream world? Those kids who yell things out which make no sense!

I had a kid screaming I KNOW HOW YOU DID THAT!!! in the middle of my juggling routine and the other kids were so confused because they kept looking for a magic trick that wasn't there!!!

The same kid kept yelling "THE CAPS ON THE BOTTLE" in my neilson bottle rouine (I had previously taken the cap off to "drink" the kethcup and then put it back on again).

Huh?
magic4u02
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I think in a lot of cases kids like this are just crying out for attention more then anything else. I think they feel that it is the opportunity to get attention from their peers from solving a trick that you are doing.

They are so locked up in trying to figure anything out, that they often times will shout out just about anything in hopes that just maybe they might be right. If they are right, it is instant gratification for themsleves and the other kids might find them cool.

This is why I try to make sure that the kids know that I am not really there to fool them or to wow them. My shows are really geared towards having a lot of fun and giggling and laughing at certain funny moments. Sure there is magic in the show, but the magic is not aimed at anyone wanting to figure anything out. Each routine is aimed at only being entertaining to them. getting them involved in a fun way and letting them in on the fun experience they are having.

When I set my shows up in this manner, the children tend to learn early on to let down their guard and just have fun with it.
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Andy Wonder
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Nicholas I get that a lot. It’s just kids wanting to be actively involved. These are the types of children that no doubt talk back to their television sets as well. If I’m not using amplification and the children get a volume advantage it can spread quite quickly & become a problem. I had that today at the climax of my vanishing bandana routine. One child yelled ‘IT’S GONE!’ in a real aggressive manner as if I was so stupid to not notice. Others picked up on it and instead of applause I got chanting of ‘IT’S GONE, IT’S GONE, IT’S GONE’. I wished I had my P.A then because I had to scream over the top of them to encourage a giant clap for the banana.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
NJJ
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I don't mind kids who yell out or even get agro, its more when they yell out things which have NOTHING to do with the trick! Maybe the child was a young Dali and his reponse was a surrealist decontruction of my act.
Emazdad
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With these kids it's best to ignore them, or in the case of things like the "caps on the bottle" etc I just say to them in a nice jokey way something like, "have you been asleep, everyone else saw me put it back on ages ago." I do it in a way that make him and the kids laugh, without putting him down, but it doews have the effect of stopping him trying to be clever in the future.

As always there is no fixed method to deal with this as every kid and every situation is different. At best you can use it/him in the way I decribed to have a bit of fun.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
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"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
magic4u02
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I agree. Most of the time the kids just want to be vocal and get involved in order to seek attention or just because they find it's fun. I never worry too much about it unless it becomes a big distratcion. Sometimes it can even be funny and add to the routine by me playing off of what the child is saying.
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Neale Bacon
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The child may have been autistic or had some other condition that would cause him to yell out inappropriate things.

I wouldn't worry about it.
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magic4u02
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Neale:
That is also a possibility as well. We must realize that many kids do have attention deficit problems, hyperactivity or even mental problems that may cuase them to act in ways that we are not accustomed to. Hopefully a parent would be kind enough to mention this to you before a performance.

In most cases I have seen, it is just the fact that the child wants to be vocal because they are excited, around their friends and just think it is ok to do so.

I never worry about it unless it gets out of hand or the child is preventing others from enjoying in the fun.
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Andy Wonder
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If every kid that screamed out some senseless observation at my shows was autistic, well autism would be a national crisis.

I believe it is a form of selfishness & greed in that the children would much prefer to yell out than to listen. From my experience these are usually children that are watching everything you do like a hawk but have no idea what you are talking about. At the same time they are usually jealous of all the attention you or the birthday child are getting.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
NJJ
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The child in question certainly fitted into the latter catergory.

It wasn't the arrogance that got to me, just the confusing nature of his heckles. Smile
Mike Robbins
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My oldest son is autistic and all of my local magician friends have been warned that to use him as a volunteer can yield unpredictable results. They still do and afford him the patience that every caring performer should provide.

I go out of my way to include the physically, social, and learning disabled audience members in my show. Does it sometimes change the flow of the show? You bet. Does anyone care? No. It's a fine balance to be able to allow your scripted show to go in another direction and not have it become chaotic. If you're one of those seemingly rare performers that can do it, then you should try it. The rewards are worth it.

One other word about autistic people. There is a broad spectrum of autism, from those who don't talk and spend their time rocking back and forth to those you'd never know at given times are autistic. My son is a "high functioning" autistic. On some days, no one would ever know it. On other days, they'd think he was just a rude person. And still on others, they'd know something was wrong with him, but may not know what. The only people who usually figure out he's autistic are those that have been exposed to autistic children.

Perhaps the parents should warn the entertainer. But as a parent of an autistic child, I can tell you I'm tired of having to do that. I'm increasingly having to do that in front of him and is does make him feel that he's less of a person at times. He is normal. He acts normally for someone with autism and, frankly, there are a lot more autistic people in this world these days, whether it's from an increase in autism or better diagnoses. Chances are increasing that, as a children's entertainer, you will have autistic children in your audiences. I suggest finding out a little more about them so you can deal with them. I also suggest you give them, as you should for any child, patience and understanding.

Mike
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
Shakespeare
Jim Snack
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My suggestion for dealing with kids who seem out of control is to use music in the show. I alternate between talking routines and routines done to music.

The talking routines include lots of audience participation, so it gets the kids all worked up. For the music routines I use some very calming music from Jean Pierre Rampal and Claude Bolling's Suite for Jazz Piano and Flute.

Not only is it great music that also appeals to the adults present, but it really settles the kids down.
Jim Snack

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NJJ
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I always ask if their are children with special needs. After the show, the mother came up and apologised for her son but she didn't mentioned he was autistic.

I think Emazdad hit the nail on the head. You can't predict unpredictable kids.
Leo B. Domapias
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Hi Jim,

I use music for a different reason ---to perform magic that impresses the adults present.

But when you mentioned music as a calming device, I received an epiphany. Looking back to my past shows, I now realize that every time I perform magic to music, the children do indeed settle down.

Long time ago, I read in one of the books of Henry Hay (I forgot which one) about the use of music to silence a noisy audience. Unfortunately, I have never used music for this purpose and therefore was not able to validate this principle. Thanks for bringing this up. Now, I have another use for music in my performance.

Ben Benjay
Manila, Philippines
magic4u02
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First off I just want to say I also use music in my shows as a way of pacing the show out. It helps to get the kids calm again and makes for a more flowing and enjoyable show for me. It does work.

On the other hand I also never use music or any trick in my show just to soley impress the adults. I am hired to entertain the children. I find that if the kids are having fun and enjoying it, then the adults do as well because they enjoy the fact that their kids are having so much fun.

In regards to music, I always use jazz or new age or contemporary jazz music. It has a great feel to it and often works very well.
Kyle Peron

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kenscott
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funny line to use for those kids is

Wigle your fingers toward the kid and say" Poof your Mute". It gets A BIG laugh from the parents.

Ken Smile
magic4u02
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Clever way to handle that with a touch of humor. Sometimes i have to do that towards the parents.
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Chrystal
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I think as entertainers we all find ourselves in the position of having kids that are a bit different in our audience. I don't mind at all and find it keeps me on my toes as my reaction must always be quick as to how I will respond. I have a background in Special Education so I usually can tell if a child is special needs and sometimes purposely call them up or have them participate in some way.

Mike, people do care when they see you include all the children in the show. They see you as tolerant, compassionate and genuinely liking kids without being condesending.I agree that the rewards are worth it and yes, while some may throw your show off a little..it's not a big deal. I think a pro would be able to handle the situation no matter what happens. The majority of audience members can see for themselves that a particular child may not behave in the "norm." While far from making the show less successful I believe it enhances the act. Regardless of how a child behaved, as every single parent or grandparent in the audience views the performer and how he/she handles the situation. That's what being a kid's entertainer is all about isn't it? Smile
Neale Bacon
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regarding the "Poof you are Mute", I actually use an old remote and keep pointing at a talkative kid and say, "Funny, works on the TV"
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
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ed rhodes
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Quote:
On 2003-08-17 18:26, Andy Walker wrote:
If every kid that screamed out some senseless observation at my shows was autistic, well autism would be a national crisis.


um... some of us believe it is.

Quote:
On 2003-08-17 19:00, Mike Robbins wrote:
My oldest son is autistic and all of my local magician friends have been warned that to use him as a volunteer can yield unpredictable results. They still do and afford him the patience that every caring performer should provide.
Mike


I did a show for the children of the employees of a hospital. (I'd originally offered to do a show for [free] actually [for] the children in the hospital, but the hospital wouldn't agree to that.)

One of the kids was a fairly older kid. I did a variation of the Grandmother's Necklace with him. (This was over nine years ago, imagine my surprise when Mark Wilson put it in his book!)

When the show was over and the kid had passed through the ropes, his mother told me that the kid had "emotional" problems and they were glad nothing had happened! Smile Of course, the fact that I didn't make him the butt of the jokes might have helped!
"He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." - Rafael Sabatini, Scaramouche
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