Help Your Child Get Out of Their Comfort Zone
If you all follow us on Facebook and Instagram, you may have seen a few snapshots of the amazing trip my son and I took to Mexico. You also got to see how amazingly brave my son was in doing two activities completely out of his comfort zone – cliff diving and zip lining! My son is normally very hesitant to try new things. I was so proud when he decided to step outside of his comfort zone.
I was totally blown away by his ability to try something new and he ended up having an absolute blast. My son has always been very hesitant to get out of his comfort zone. I try so hard to convince him to try new things but he normally fights me on it. I was so happy that he was willing to take a chance and experience something he’ll remember for the rest of his life. It’s so rewarding to see children be unafraid to try new things. So how do you help kids get in the mindset of trying new things? Check out our tips below.
Encourage your child to pick up a new after school or weekend activity
If your child is already very much into ballet class on Saturdays, ask if they would like to change it up by signing up for karate lessons. Maybe they want to switch from art class to joining a soccer team, or vice versa. If your child leans toward sports extracurriculars, why not ask them if they want to take a language class. Giving your children more variety in their activities can only give them the advantage of having a wide range of interests and skills. If they don’t like the activity, they don’t have to keep doing it, but at least they can say they tried. Playing with other children in new activities will also be helpful for your kids to expand their group of friends and meet people who might be interested in different things.
An extreme activity to get them out of their comfort zone
If you or your child is feeling particularly adventurous, why not go straight to the top – literally. Let your child try tackling an obstacle course or a tree-top ropes course. You could even join in if either of you is feeling nervous about the possibility of getting so high up or doing such a nerve-wracking activity. These activities are an exercise in trust and keeping safety practices in mind as much as anything else. If your child already loves riding their bike, why not try mountain biking next? It will give them the chance to grow in their skills and confidence. Allowing your children to continue to push their boundaries will broaden their horizons throughout the rest of their lives.
Ask your child if they feel comfortable trying the next level up of an activity
If you’re at a pool with a water slide or a diving board, and there are higher and lower slides or diving boards, ask your child if they would like to try the higher of the two. If they feel safe trying the “big kid” option, why not let them, keeping in mind minimum height safety requirements. Another example is when your child rides their bike. Ask them to let you know when they feel ready to take off the training wheels. It may not be the same time that you would want them to try riding with only two wheels, but if your child falls down and turns out to not be ready, you can just put the training wheels back on. Always wear a helmet!
Helping a nervous child step out of their comfort zone and try new things requires patience, understanding, and gentle encouragement.
Here are some tips that may be helpful:
1. Establish trust:
Build a strong and trusting relationship with your child. Make sure they feel safe and supported, knowing that you’re there for them no matter what.
2. Start small:
Begin with small steps and gradually expose your child to new experiences. This could involve trying new foods, exploring new places, or participating in low-pressure activities.
3. Identify interests:
Discover activities or hobbies that genuinely interest your child. When they have a personal interest in something, they are more likely to be motivated to step out of their comfort zone to pursue it.
4. Lead by example:
Show your child that it’s normal to try new things and take risks by doing so yourself. Be a role model and share your own experiences of stepping out of your comfort zone.
5. Encourage problem-solving:
Teach your child problem-solving skills and how to cope with challenges. Help them understand that making mistakes is a natural part of learning and growth.
6. Provide gradual exposure:
If your child has a specific fear or anxiety, such as speaking in public, gradually expose them to similar situations over time. Start with small groups or informal settings, and gradually increase the level of exposure.
7. Offer support and reassurance:
Provide encouragement, support, and reassurance throughout the process. Let your child know that it’s okay to feel nervous or scared, but remind them of their abilities and strengths.
8. Divide tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks:
Big tasks can feel overwhelming, even for adults. By breaking them down into smaller chunks it makes them less daunting and allows your child to concentrate on one step at a time.
9. Celebrate achievements:
Celebrate every small achievement along the way. Acknowledge your child’s bravery and efforts, reinforcing their confidence and willingness to try new things.
10. Seek professional guidance if needed:
If your child’s anxiety or fear significantly impacts their daily life, consider seeking guidance from a professional, such as a child psychologist or therapist, who can provide additional support and strategies.
Remember, each child is unique, so it’s essential to approach this process with patience and understanding. Tailor your approach to suit their specific needs and personality, and be prepared for setbacks or hesitations along the way.
Do you have trouble getting your child to step out of their comfort zone or have any tips for other parents? Tell us over on our Facebook page