Parents of aspiring child models: what is your biggest concern? If you worry most about the effect a modeling career will have on your child’s schoolwork, you are not alone.
As all model agencies will warn you from the beginning, your child will need to miss school to attend castings and shoots. Often, these take place during the working week and may clash with school hours.
Yet, compromising on a solid education is not an option either.
So, how do you get the balance right? How can your child keep up with his or her studies but have a shot at modeling stardom, too?
What you are looking for is the best of both worlds. And that’s no easy feat.
To help, here are a few suggestions on how you can help your child juggle a busy life studying and modeling:
Always Remember You’re the Boss
What happens when a modeling opportunity clashes with some important classes or an exam? Your child can’t be in two places at once, unfortunately. So, who makes the call about where your child should go?
You always get the final say in any decision to attend an audition or take a modeling job. This is because you, as the parent, are the adult who knows your child the best. You, more than anyone, can make an informed decision about what is right for your child at that moment.
Of course, this isn’t always going to be easy. There are going to be times when you will be really torn. And there are going to be times when you may need to counter pressure from other people, including your child or their school.
Spend some time thinking before your child gets started in their career. You need to make a decision early on about the level of commitment your child can give to the modeling industry. Then stand firm.
Choose a Supportive Casting Agency
The right modeling agency is right behind you. They should understand that you know your child best and be fully supportive of the decisions you make.
A good child modeling agency prioritizes child welfare above all else. They know that an important element of raising a happy, healthy child is giving them access to a good education.
Only sign up with an agency if you are sure they will always prioritize your child’s health, happiness, and best interests.
Be Upfront With the School
There’s no doubt that your child will need to skip out on school early sometimes or miss some days completely, even at the beginning of their career. Auditions are nearly always scheduled during office hours and you’ll need to add in travel time, too.
It’s tempting to feign medical appointments or something else the school would view as an essential reason for missing school. This is never wise in the long run for so many reasons.
Firstly, schools are often more supportive than you might imagine. A good school is interested in the development of the whole child, so may understand the benefits of a modeling career for your child. They will also always be keen that your child doesn’t get behind on academic requirements, so they may provide catch up work to cover absences.
Most of all, they’ll appreciate the honesty. At some point, the school will need to sign off on permits for a child to be released for work. So it pays to keep them informed for this reason.
Have a Clear Plan for Missed School Work
As your child’s career progresses, you may reach the point that your child is missing more than the occasional school session. This is when you’ll have to put in some practical solutions for missed school work.
You may be willing to tutor your own child to help keep them on top of school work. This takes mutual understanding and discipline from both child and parent. Other factors, like your time commitments and confidence in being able to do this, are important, too.
Outside help from private tutors or online tutors can be sought as well. This will have a cost factor that will need to be taken into account by you.
If your child were to be involved in larger jobs, such as TV or film work, then a parent can reasonably ask for a tutor to be present on set as a point in the project contract.
All in all, to realistically achieve a good balance between having a shot at stardom and succeeding in school work, the key is planning. It’s giving the issue plenty of thought early on and having strategies for catching up on missed school work in place.
This way you’ll be content with the situation, as will your child’s school. But most importantly, you’ll have a happy, balanced child who has the opportunity to shine at work and in school.
This information is written by Adam Jacobs, who is the Managing Director of Bubblegum Casting, the longest running agency specializing in babies, children and teen talent in Australia. Bubblegum Casting works with some of Australia’s biggest brands, media properties, and agencies to secure talented children to work in Television, Film and Modelling roles.