There are many ways for a child to become an actor. If a child simply loves acting, he or she can explore this in many communities by participating in local plays. To become a professional child actor, it's usually necessary to be in a city where movies or TV are made and to work with an agent to find roles.
Many small towns regularly have plays for which kids can audition, and lots of Park and Recreation centers offer drama classes that lead to production of a play, most often for younger kids who are not yet in middle school age range. In middle school and high school, there are often drama classes kids can take and plays or other productions that they can participate in to fuel their interest.
The above ideas work well for children interested in acting who does not want to act professionally. They help maintain an interest or hobby while the child pursues other things too. Some parents, when asking how to get their kids to become a child actor, truly mean they’d like them to professionally participate in acting venues. This typically requires more work, and some luck. For the many children who want to be an actor, only a few will find lots of opportunities to work, while most will find only occasional acting opportunities, if any.
First, it can help to be located near a major city or one that routinely is used for filming. There are a few small towns that show up in many films, and being near one of these might help produce acting offers. A child who lives near a city where a lot of filming takes place tends to have a better shot at becoming a working actor, however, because are simply more jobs available in a very competitive field.
It then helps to find an acting agency, preferably one that specializes in representing children. Agent representation should be free, and if jobs are promised only on completion of classes or acting school tied to the agency, this is usually a scam. Agents ought to get paid when actors get work, and at no other time. Acting school or acting training can be very important, however, and larger communities have good classes or training available to kids. These can be expensive, as are other things an agent might require, like headshots of the child.
Kids should probably not sit on their hands waiting to get work. Instead, they should avail themselves of opportunities to act, even when these don’t immediately result in payment. If they can work as child actors in local theater groups, they gain valuable experience and confidence in front of an audience. While waiting for that big break, kids should be encouraged to work in theater and to avail themselves of opportunities to learn more about drama in school or in other ways.
The child should determine whether he or she wants to be an actor — not the parents. Children will perform better in this profession if they are passionate about it and are less likely to be hired if they don’t like acting. Those who seem unsure shouldn’t be urged to do more than they enjoy and might be better acting in a much more amateur way. If talent and interest both increase at a later time, acting can always be pursued. It is important for parents to remember that many of the well known child actors did not have happy childhoods, and the very significant scrutiny and rejection associated with this profession, in addition to access to easy temptations, can create challenges most children will never face.