How To Encourage Children To Try New Things 

Children are avid learners and are inquisitive by nature. These two factors generally make children curious about new stimuli when they are presented with it. While this isn’t universally true, in most cases, children are happy to try new things when asked. If, however, you face an instance where children are proving resistant to trying a new task, a new food or a new playtime activity, there are strategies you can use to overcome their fear, pique their interest and prompt them to engage with activities they haven’t tried before. In this blog we discuss a few such strategies which can be employed to encourage children to try new things. 

What Causes Children to Fear New Things? 

Children can sometimes experience trepidation about trying new things because, like adults, they are worried they will fail. The minute children are asked to try new things they can become anxious and feel powerless and vulnerable because they do not fully understand how an activity works. This can make them hesitate before fully engaging with the new activity. If children are allowed to fear new tasks, this pattern can continue well into their childhood and make them anxious by nature. However, with proper encouragement from an adult, children can develop bravery and resilience to their fearful emotional states and become used to trying new things. 

Strategies To Help Children Try New Things 

Trying new things leads to learning, which, as we know, is a fundamental part of growth and development. The following strategies can be employed to help children try new things: 

Place Children in the ‘Not Yet’ Zone 

The logic of placing children in the ‘not yet’ zone is that practice makes perfect. If a child fails at a task the first time they try it they may feel exhausted, confused and scared because they believe that they have failed. By reiterating that they did not fail, they just did not get it right yet, you can give children the confidence they need to continue trying until they are comfortable performing a new task. 

Keep a Bravery Journal 

Every time a child tries something new, regardless of whether they succeed or fail, keep a note of it in a journal. This recognition can give children the confidence to keep trying a new task until they are well-practiced at it. Be sure to include drawings and mementos in the journal so that children remember each new task favourably. 

Praise Success 

Children tend to respond well to praise. Praise each milestone a child takes when trying something new. By celebrating each step on the journey rather than its conclusion, you provide enough encouragement for children to keep attempting a new task until they are proficient at it. 

Set Realistic Expectations 

The quickest way to get children scared about trying something new is by setting the benchmark too high. When we put too much pressure on children it can discourage them from even attempting a new task. By setting reasonable goals based on past successes we provide a realistic framework of expectations when our children are trying new tasks. 

Contact Robyn Taylor 

At Robyn Taylor Early Childhood Centre, we incorporate a range of strategies to help children try new things. If you would like to learn more about the Robyn Taylor Teaching Method, book a tour of our education centre or enrol your child, please use our contact page to reach out to us or call on 02 9705 8309.