By Karen Cicero

It's recital, choir concert, talent show, school play, and music program season! So chances are, your little one is performing in some type of show during the next month or two. I've got an 11-year-old drama queen who has been in dozens of performances since her first ballet recital at age three (for Throwback Thursday, I'm sharing the pic). Looking back, I wish someone had showed me the ropes about how to be a stage mom without being one of those stage moms. But now I can do that for you:

* Relax. You may be concerned that she won't remember all her dance steps or will be out of sync with her group or even will be too scared to perform, but here's the truth: You have nothing to worry about. My daughter has never been in a show when single one of the kids failed to get on stage out of fear. Sure, there have been tears and nervousness backstage, but the volunteer moms and instructors are pros at coaxing a kid out there. And as for making mistakes during the performance, know that if young kids mess up a bit, it's actually cute. Cuter even than if the number went off without a hitch. So rather than getting worked up about it not being perfect (yes, I know the grandparents will be there), let your child enjoy herself and soak in the applause. The youngest kids always get the most enthusiastic response from the audience.

* Ask someone else to videotape it. If you're holding your iPhone the whole time, you're not going to enjoy the performance as it's happening, which, trust me, is not the same as watching it later on YouTube. Ask a mom who has a kid in a different number to video for you, and do the same for her.

*  Keep makeup simple. You've surely heard that kids will be "washed out" under the bright lights, but let me tell you lots of blush, lipstick, and eyeshadow is overkill for a 4-year-old. A little shimmer goes a long way.

* Re-think flowers. My daughter has received plenty of petals, but the gifts she's been most fond of (and still uses) have related to the shows she's performed in: a Little Prince necklace, a figurine from Annie, a Glinda doll. For the money you'd spend on flowers, you could get your daughter something that will last her whole childhood.

* Respect the instructor/teacher/director. She'll teach him how to deliver the line, rock the dance moves, hit the note. Telling your child to do something different because you think it's better will only confuse him. If you truly have a concern, talk to the instructor directly.

* Show your appreciation. If your child's performance was at school, chances are teachers put in a lot of extra hours that they weren't compensated for. My daughter's school play last year had at least 80 hours of practice—and that doesn't count the weekends that the teachers gave up for the actual performances. Help organize a token of appreciation, like a giant card that the cast makes and signs.

Okay, fellow stage moms, here's your cue: Add more tips in the comments!

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