“Child actor” is a term that gets thrown around a lot when it comes to young celebrities.

But what really defines a child actor, and how do you get to be one? What Is a Child Actor? Where else can you see child actors?

Children whose careers are built on their ability to act are often referred to as child actors.

While this term has been used for decades, the term “child star” is more common in the United States, where it’s often associated with the experiences of former child actors who were thrust into stardom at a young age, like Shirley Temple.

Other countries use the term “child actor” instead.

How To Become An Actor As A Kid

What Are Child Actors?

Child actors are child performers who appear in motion pictures or on television.

The term usually applies to those who are under 16 years of age, and some child actors may be as young as five or six when they start acting.

Child actors are often selected for their roles because of their ability to portray a character convincingly, but many also have forged careers as adult actors, especially if they started working at an early age.



Tatum O’Neal was the youngest actress ever to win an Academy Award. She was ten years old when she received her win in 1973 for Paper Moon.

Her next major movie, Little Darlings (1980), co-starred Kristy McNichol and Kristin Griffith and earned Tatum an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in 1979. She also appeared in Nickelodeon (1976) with Richard Pryor and Silver Streak (1976) with Gene Wilder.

Tatum had a reputation for being difficult on set — she was known for hitting directors and fellow actors — but her talent kept her in constant demand as an actress until she was eighteen years old. After that, she went back to school.

Other notable child actors include Macauley Culkin, Drew Barrymore, and Jodie Foster.

Children have always been involved in work that involves playing roles, such as theater and commercial work.

The movie industry has become a popular place for children to find work, both as actors and behind-the-scenes crew members.

Many children find work with their parents or relatives who are producers or directors; others audition for open roles when a film is being cast.

Most child actors perform alongside more experienced professionals.

What Are Child Actors?

Actors who play roles that fall under the umbrella of children’s movies are typically referred to as child actors even if they’re adults playing younger roles. For example, Mark Lester, who played Oliver in the 1971 film Oliver! at age 17, was technically already an adult when he took on the role but is still considered a child actor.

What Are Some Examples of Child Actors


Some well-known child actors (who are now mainstream Hollywood names) include:

  • Macaulay Culkin
  • Natalie Portman
  • Jodie Foster
  • Christian Bale
  • Haley Joel Osment
  • Freddie Highmore
  • Ronan Farrow
  • Dakota Fanning

Child Actor Definition

According to Wikipedia, a child actor is: “an actor who is younger than 18 years of age at the time the role was played.” 

Child actors are usually paid less than their adult co-stars, but some of them have been in successful films. Some examples of these actors include the above mentioned Macaulay Culkin, Haley Joel Osment, and Dakota Fanning.

According to IMDb.com (Internet Movie Database), only 20% of child stars go on to become regular actors when they reach adulthood. Although this statistic may be slightly skewed, it does show that the chances of becoming a child star and an adult star are not very likely.

Child actors typically begin their acting careers between ages four and fourteen, though some people start much earlier or later. 

The first person to ever become famous for acting was thought to be Jackie Coogan who appeared in the silent film The Kid in 1921 when he was just six years old. 

Famous Child Actors

There’s a reason why some child actors grow up to be famous – they have talent, hard work, and luck. But some child actors were never able to break through into the Hollywood limelight.

Tons of youngsters have tried their hand at acting, but few manage to even get an agent or manager. 

If you’re a parent and you want your kid to grow up to be the next Meryl Streep, then read on for some tips. Know that it’s not easy being a child actor.

If you’re going to push your child into this field, you need to be realistic about what they can achieve. Talent is important in any industry, but being talented isn’t enough.

Child actors need to be able to work well under pressure, take direction, and be patient. They also need to learn basic social skills like respect and tact, because they will be dealing with people who are sometimes twice their age.

For these reasons, kids shouldn’t try to rush into acting too soon. When they’re younger than five years old, they must learn how to express themselves properly before they start trying out for roles at auditions. 

Tips On How To Become A Child Actor

Many young people dream of being actors when they grow up, but it is a difficult profession to break into. Starting young can give you an advantage; you may not make it as a professional actor, but by getting the experience you will gain valuable skills that will help you in other careers.

Here are some tips that can help you become a successful child actor: 

  1.  Always be prepared. If your agent calls and says they have a role for you, you want to make sure that you’re available for the audition or call-back. Be sure to check your calendar and let your agent know as soon as possible if there is any conflict with your schedule. 
  2.  Go above and beyond to prepare for auditions and call-backs. Make sure that you are well versed in the script, the character, and what’s expected of you during the audition. Read all of the sides that are given to you by your agent or manager before the audition or callback so that you nail it when it comes time to perform in front of the casting director or talent agent/producer.
  3. While acting can be a rewarding career, there are risks involved with leaving home and moving to a new city. Always have a backup plan so that you have options if acting does not work out for you.
  4. If you want to take up acting seriously, then you need to find the right courses. Taking part in extracurricular activities at school can help you to get comfortable in front of people and prepare for auditions.

However, you also need to do some more specialized training if you want to become a better actor. It’s best to find an agency or theater that offers workshops so that you can learn from professionals.

Being a child actor can be such a rewarding experience. Acting as a child is very different from acting as an adult. 

Many people are successful at being child actors and continue their acting careers into adulthood. It may not be easy, but you can make it happen.

How Do You Become An Actor As A Kid?

If you want to pursue a career as an actor, you should practice improvising a lot. 

Improv is good for the brain because it rewards the ability to think quickly and creatively. You can take classes at your local theater or even just do some improv on your own.

What’s more, if you’re in school, you might be able to join an after-school drama club or group. 

If you live in a small town where there aren’t any drama groups, try starting one of your own! It will allow you to try out different roles and work on your acting skills all while having fun.

When looking for a school drama group or club to join, think about what kind of role you’d like to play. Do you want to be a leading actor? A supporting actor? 

Or maybe the director? This way, when the casting call comes around, you’ll know exactly what part you’d like to audition for.

If your school or community can’t offer drama clubs or groups, don’t despair! You can still be involved in theater by joining community theater productions. 

Most towns have a community theater that puts on plays every once in a while. Take part in these shows if they exist where you live.

Become A Child Actor By Making The Right Moves

Nowadays, there are lots of child artist jobs available and more people have started to realize the importance of getting their children into the entertainment business. Because of this, many parents are now looking for ways how they can help their kids achieve their dreams of acting.

Trying to make your way into the industry may seem like a big task but it’s not impossible. You just need to be prepared and know how you’re going to start. Here are some useful tips that will guide you along the way:


There are a lot of things you need to consider before landing on an agency that you want your kids to be under. 

You need to know what kind of reputation they have, what kind of training plan they offer, etc.

Get The Right Agent 

Once you’ve decided which agency is for your child, getting an agent is necessary so that he or she can find auditions and work for you. 

Some agents will take a cut from your earnings but others won’t; that’s something that depends on your budget and preferences.

What Is Required For A Child Actor?

Many people want to become child actors but don’t know where to start. They often don’t understand the whole industry or what is required for a successful child actor. 

There are many different types of child actors. You can be an extra or you can be a star. 

There are also many different areas of entertainment to work in, including commercials, movies, and television shows. There are even some opportunities in radio, voice-overs, and theater productions.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to your options as a child actor. If you want to become a child actor, you should have acting skills. 

You should also know how to work well with others, be professional on set, and know how to take direction from directors and producers. You should always be on time, prepared for your scenes, and ready to work with your fellow actors.

What Are The Effects Of Being A Child Star?

Being a child star can be quite stressful. This is because there are many things that they have to deal with, especially while they are still growing up.

They have to work on their acting and singing skills, as well as their education. Many of these child stars suffer from mental illness or substance abuse.

Some kill themselves. The problem with child stars is that not all of them finish growing up before they become famous. 

When this happens, it causes some major problems for the star and their family.

It is no surprise that most of the child stars that failed made enough money to fall back on and live comfortably for the rest of their lives. If a child star does not fail, then he or she will eventually grow up and become a big star like Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber.

Working With Child Actors

The entertainment industry is one of the most dangerous professions and has been known to cause psychological and physical damage to children. The film industry is growing a very dark side that most people are unaware of.

Parents put their children in the movie industry thinking it will help them get into college and make a career for themselves, but that is not the case for many child actors. Telling parents about this can be tricky because if you tell them these things they might not let their child get involved in acting or modeling.

It’s important to know how to approach parents in a way that doesn’t scare them off but also lets them know what they are getting into. I want to give you advice on how to talk to parents who want their kids to become a celebrity, but I also want you to know what could happen if they don’t get the right advice.

This information is important so that you can tell your parents what they need to hear for your family not to have regrets later down the road.