Many people are afraid to try new things when they grow up. And I’m not an exception. I’ll admit that I used to be so scared to do something that I am not good at.
And luckily, I had changed so much since the day I got two angels in my life. I realized that it’s important to encourage my kids to try new things when they are too shy to do something new! So, how to get your child to try new things?
When I was a little girl, I usually chose to avoid anything that required any skill I didn’t have. The idea “I can’t do that” always appeared in my mind during those times and I found it really hard to stop it.
It’s fear that prevents your child from trying new things
We should first know about the reason leading to your child’s hesitation to try something new before knowing how to get your child to try new things. It’s their fear!
Generally, people consider fear a typical response to new experiences or challenges. As children, they often feel uncertain, powerless, anxious, and vulnerable when dealing with these situations. New challenges may strip away a kid’s sense of security and control.
Due to their fear, the children tend to avoid trying new things that come into their life. They don’t want to take risks by attempting to try something new. And parents, you shouldn’t think this is safe for your child. In fact, they are missing many opportunities to experience new things to be more mature. In addition, this might set a negative pattern that can even persist into your child’s adult life.
Sometimes, I ask myself how much I have missed out just because of my timidity and worries when trying new things. Too much! It’s my pity. And that’s why I don’t want my kids to miss out on anything like me. I’m making every effort to help build up my daughter’s courage and enthusiasm for new challenges.
Fear of Joining In
Have you ever heard the term FOMO – it stands for fear of missing out. And often, shy children seem to have the opposite issue which is called FOJI (fear of joining in). If your child has some expressions of FOJI, you should learn more about it to know how to get your child to try new things.
Like what I’ve mentioned above in this post, I used to have case of FOJI when being a kid. And though I had very supportive parents, close siblings, and wonderful friends, I still had difficulty trying new things. I don’t have enough courage and motivation to do that.
It sounds quite hard to believe but a quite strong mom like me used to be so shy to experience new things. I was always afraid that I can screw up at whatever I was going to do and therefore, people would certainly laugh at me. With that thought in mind, I found it hard to participate in outdoor activities with my friends.
I remember it like it was just yesterday. It was at my graduation party and I wanted to join in a volleyball game. However, till the end, I decided to refuse my chance to be with my friends. At that time, I convinced myself that I wasn’t good at this game and people would certainly laugh so much at me if I ruined the game. But right after that, I realized that not all of them know how to play volleyball excellently. Many of my friends failed to play the game but they were still happy with the result and nobody laughed at them.
When I was a little bit older, I felt everything bad when continuously losing my opportunities. I usually told myself that it wasn’t worth missing out on good chances just due to my silly fear of failing.
That internal intervention in my mind was a defining moment that makes me think much better. And at present, I always hope that my children can have the opportunities to come to that realization much earlier than I did.
How to get your child to try new things?
If you see your kids avoid opportunities to take part in new activities or meet new people, don’t be sad or angry with them. That’s normal! You used to be like them. And what you need to do is changing the situation with your positive parenting methods. Try to help them with these 5 simple steps.
Ask them these five questions
Many people choose to tell their children that trying new things is good for them. However, you can refer to another effective method. Let your children come to realize the real meaning of trying new things on their own. Parents should guide them to work through this by asking them five questions below:
- How long do you think it may take before people are good at something?
- Are some people naturally excellent at certain things?
- Can you name something that you want to try but refuse to do due to your fear?
- What is something that you gave up on?
- If you lost something, it is too late to try again or not?
Your children’s answers to those questions will surely let them understand the meaning of trying something new in their life. Everyone own different abilities and if possible, trying again is usually an option.
Take baby steps
Don’t be too hurry! I know that you guys may feel the urge to encourage your little ones to try new things. In this situation, please keep in mind that “slowly but surely” can be a helpful tactic.
When my daughter was a little unsure about her dancing practice, I had her cousin done with her for her very first lesson. My little girl quickly felt comfortable following her hobby. It’s the time you think about how you can ease your child into their new environment or activity. If you could not sit with them, try to let them with their friends or siblings.
I personally think that friendships are good ways to help kids open up to the world around them.
I also need to admit that there are things that parents cannot do but their friends can. Friends can help your shy kids get silly and lighten up. For example, a simple “come and join us” from my child’s friend can easily empower my kid to find the confidence to try something new! That’s so magical.
There are some ways we parents can encourage strong friendships by:
- Inviting your child’s friends over to hang out
- Talking to your child about the importance of friendship
- Encouraging your children to be brave enough to make friend and talk to other kids
Sign your kid up for different activities that their friends are in
Know when to back off
This is an important thing for parents to keep in mind. We should notice every activity that our child takes part in. If there is any new activityy or situation that causes your kid extreme stressed or anxious, you should consider backing off for a while.
Kids Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have pointed out some typical signs of anxiety in children. They include:
- Crying frequently
- Acting scared or upset
- Refusing to talk to others or do things
- Having the feeling of shaky or short of breath
- They may feel a hot face, clammy hands, a racing heart or dry mouth
If you see any of these signs of anxiety in your child, talk to your pediatrician for the most suitable solution.
Help them develop grit
Are your kids afraid of failing when they are about to do something new?
Teach them that whether it be in a social setting or at a sport, activity, try to see failure and loss as a small opportunity. Turn challenges into opportunities to be better.
Losing will teach your kids the value of hard work, and that not all times things will go their way. Also, teaching your children about the value of hard work also helps you much in raising a grateful child.
You now may know how to get your child to try new things. Each child has different characteristics. Some might be strong and have the courage to try new things, accept failure and change. But some will find it hard. As parents, you should choose the right way to raise your kids if they are shy. By doing that, we are gradually seeing our kids live their lives to the fullest!