As adults, we know that some of life’s greatest experiences come from stepping outside of our comfort zone, trying new activities and learning new skills. We also know it can be daunting to take that first step, but the benefits of doing so far outweigh the initial nervousness.
But many children are hesitant to try new things, especially children who are shy and lack confidence. In today’s every-changing world, where kids face will face more challenging workplaces in the future, being open to learning new skills is extremely important. So, how do we get our children to try new activities?
One of the most important things we can do as parents is encourage our children. It’s understandable that they’re worried about failing or being embarrassed, but without parental assurance and encouragement, some kids will never try anything new. Talk to your child about their fears or reluctance and never criticise their feelings. Tell them about some of the feelings and experiences you had as a child about trying something new, so they understand that everyone has a bit of fear when it comes to trying a new activity.
When they do agree to try a new activity, praise their courage in doing so. Talk to them about times they tried something before that they were afraid of and ended up loving it. Remind them that they would never have discovered that new thing had they not given it a try in the first place.
Do new things together
If your child is nervous about trying something new on their own, forcing them to do so won’t help them overcome their fear. Instead, do something with them. Join an art class together, take up tennis, visit the theatre, go rock climbing; there are endless things you can do with them. And make it fun for them. Your presence and your enthusiasm will help encourage them to give it a go on their own.
Bring a friend
Children are often more confident when they have a friend with them. They don’t feel alone or uncomfortable among strangers in an unfamiliar situation. Having a friend beside them makes it a lot more fun for them and helps empower them to be themselves. Even if both children are shy, they will gain more courage and confidence being together.
Seeing is believing
If your child shows an interest in something like drama, for example, or if you’d like to encourage your child in drama, visiting the theatre will help inspire them. The friendly team at The Young Company theatre in Cairns will happily organise a tour of their venue and a meet and greet with the team to help put your child at ease. This gives your child the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the theatre and meet others who have similar interests and whose enthusiasm is sure to rub off!