Teaching a Child How to Bow

It never ceases to amaze me that junior and senior high kids can feel completely comfortable doing this…


and this…


and this…


and this…


And yet when it comes time to bow at the end of a show, we get a random cross between a girl trying to dry her hair quickly and a bad attempt at fake vomiting.

Kids often don’t know how to bow.

Miss Laura works so hard every show to choreograph the bows so they look just right, and it never fails — kids bow in a wave fashion rather than all together, they forget to put their heads down, or their arms flop all over the place like a dancing octopus.

If you are an acting teacher, here’s what we’re doing to combat the bowing problem. Choreograph the whole thing so the performer knows exactly what to do with each limb and body part. Encourage confidence and enthusiasm in the bowing process.


When you bow correctly, your head goes downward so that your nose and gaze are pointed at the floor, and the top of your head is facing directly to your audience. This is one of those times when it’s okay not to make eye contact with someone who is praising you!


When you are preparing your bow, do not put your hands in a fist! Your fingers and hands should be relaxed and open. Keep them slightly bent (similar to how a dancer or a gospel choir singer might hold them).


You have two options here. Either keep them straight and close together, or you may hold one foot out, toe pointed slightly. Weight should be on your back foot.


Another limb with two options. You can bring your arms down along with your torso, body, and head, or you can wrap one arm in front of your stomach and one arm in back. Your pre-bow stage includes your arms up high (mostly straight) above your head.


Your torso should be parallel to the floor and at a 90 degree angle with your legs.


How long should your bow be? When you bow, say the word “elephant” quietly to yourself and then come back up, not too fast. That’s the perfect timing for a bow.

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