When we’re thinking of trying new things and stepping out of our comfort zone, it can be intimidating. This is usually even more intimidating for children. As they grow, they’re learning about their emotions and how to express them. So trying to navigate trying new things and the big emotions that come with it can be a lot.

If you are struggling with getting your little one to try new things, there are subtle and encouraging ways to slowly introduce them.

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Slow Introduction/Exposure

A great way to start the process of trying a new thing is to slowly introduce the item, activity, or food. This is usually done by:

Starting Conversations

You can bring it up, ask the child their thoughts on it, show examples, talk about your thoughts on it. This gets their brain thinking about it. It also allows you to set the tone with positive thoughts.

Introducing The Thing

If it’s a physical item, you can set it out in a place that’s visible. If it’s a food you could eat in front of them a few times so it becomes familiar and normal. If it’s a new sport or activity, you can show them videos.

Open Communication

When you’re starting the process of trying a new thing with your little one, openly communicating with them is a must. Children thrive with as much notice as possible.

Start conversations about how they will be trying something new, ask them how they feel about it, and reassure them about things they may be apprehensive about. Also, give them a timeline. Letting them know when new things will come about can give them a chance to wrap their little minds around it.

Encourage and Build Them Up

If you see they’re struggling when being approached with new things, a great way to assist is to build their sense of confidence. A lot of times one of the hindrances can be their own inner voice. Start noticing when they do things on their own or conquer a new skill/activity. Point that out to them and highlight how they did it. This is a great way to slowly build their confidence which will overall assist with trying out new things

Consistency

Children will not always like an activity or thing immediately. It’s also hard to tell off the bat whether they do not like it genuinely or if it is just apprehension or fear leading them. That is where consistency in communication, exposure, and reassurance comes in. Constant exposure and positivity around a new activity or food can significantly help with trying it out.

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Don’t Overdo It

While consistency is key, you also do not want to overwhelm them. Taking breaks and revisiting it is also great practice. Especially for a child that may struggle with anxiety.

Present Yourself As A Safe Space

Oftentimes parents of a little may really want a child to do a task, try a food, etc. What they may not see is the excessive struggle you’re having or the anxiety it is creating in a child. By presenting yourself as a safe space to talk out those feelings, you are directly assisting in conquering those feelings. It’s also good to express that to the parents. This allows for all of you to be on the same page in guiding your LO to try out a new thing.

 

It is not always easy conquering the big emotions that can come with trying out something new. But, with a little patience, encouragement, and consistency you can have them mastering new things before you know it!

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