Helping kids step out of their comfort zone

It’s no secret that kids find doing new things that are outside of their comfort zone daunting. While some children rush boldly ahead, others shrink back and watch from the sidelines. With the spring and summer months coming up, it’s the perfect time for your child to try new experiences and activities — so, if they’re struggling to find the courage to attend that new after school club, Tutor Doctor is here to help. We’ve put together some simple ideas on how you can help your kids embrace new experiences and move past the fear!

Why are my kids so scared of trying new things?

Activities or new experiences that are outside of your child’s comfort zone are going to feel unfamiliar and uncomfortable. The reason for this is uncertainty about the outcome, including a fear of failure. No one likes being afraid, and when they know they can go to football practice and be awesome, well, then when would they want to try hockey when they don’t know how they’re going to perform? However, as most adults know, many of the best things in life come from pushing through comfort zones. It all helps growth and learning, which is super important for any child.

How can I help my child try new things?

Offer encouragement

Offering a little pushing and encouragement is often a great place to start. Make sure you tell your kids about experiences you’ve had where trying new things paid off. If it’s a new activity they want to try, why not find them a club and offer to take them there? Setting up appropriate opportunities like this really give your child the chance to get out and interact with others and start trying new things.

Start Small

When encouraging your children to try new things, start with smaller challenges that are easier to accomplish. Eventually once your child builds up their confidence levels and realises that trying something new isn’t always so scary, we guarantee that over time they’ll be ready to tackle bigger, scarier situations and experiences.

Break it down

A fantastic way to get kids to gently step outside of their comfort zone, is by breaking down the new situation into manageable pieces. Let them know what they can really expect, what could happen, as well as how much fun it could be. Each step allows them to not only gain a little bit of control, it provides reassurance and enables them to start envisioning themselves being brave! If your child is really panicking, then try practicing familiarisation by doing dress rehearsals together.

Kids need to feel confident

Making sure your child has confidence and a can-do attitude is imperative. Try getting them to practice saying out loud “I can do this”, “I am brave” and “I can face new things that might be scary!” This sets them up with the right frame of mind to enter an unfamiliar situation. It’s also important to urge your kids celebrate their successes as well as offering them your congratulations. Tell them, “Well Done! That was tricky but look at what you’ve accomplished! You did it!” Regular encouraging words can help your child reflect on their experience and allow them to praise their own efforts. Before you know it they’ll be agreeing with you and saying, “Yes, I did a good job!”

Resilience is key!

Helping your kids build up resilience is super important when it comes to new experiences. Ideally you want them to be able recover quickly if something doesn’t go as expected and move onto the next challenge. If they know it’s okay to fail, make a mistake, or not enjoy something new, the more likely they are to not feel disheartened and develop the ability to bounce back after a slightly negative or unexpected experience. Eventually once your child gets used to trying new things, you may well find that stepping outside of their comfort zone will start to excite them rather than frighten them.