How to Get Your Child to Try New Experiences: Strategies that Really Work!
Whether you stay up until midnight or fall asleep on the couch at 10:45 on New Year’s Eve, you’ll likely wake up on January 1st with some goals in mind. You might ponder how you can eat more healthily, spend more time outdoors, or read more books. In fact, you know that your whole family could benefit from shaking up their habits— including your kids.
While it’s certainly fun for them to come home from school, pop open a snack pack, and unwind with a video game, you’d like your child to add some healthier habits to their routine. Unfortunately, kids can be notoriously resistant to trying new things.
Don’t give up on helping your child gain new positive habits. Best in Class Education Centers has put together some suggestions to help guide your child to try new experiences in the new year.
Model the behavior. You’ve already set your New Year’s resolution to read more or eat more veggies. Fortunately, if you pick up this habit yourself, your child is more likely to try it too! Modeling what you want your child to do is a way to gently but powerfully introduce a new habit. Let them see you reading a new novel or digging into a big bowl of leafy greens, and they may try a new book or salad themselves.
Also, speak positively about your new habit. For example, tell your spouse about the juicy tomatoes you picked up at the farmer’s market, or talk about how “the movie is never as good as the book.” Your children listen and watch what you say and do and may pick up the new habit without any prompting at all!
Make it fun. What if the activity you’d like your child to try is challenging or out of their comfort zone? Maybe you’re certain your daughter would be a fantastic soccer player, but she’s not sure about joining a team.
Squash feelings of doubt or anxiety with a fun activity. Perhaps the whole family can go on an outing to see a college or professional women’s soccer game, or maybe you can make some fun snacks together and watch soccer on TV.
If she joins the team, spend some one-on-one time picking out new soccer gear or blast her favorite songs in the car every time you drive to practice. If you add fun elements, not only will your child have a fun and healthy hobby, but she’ll also make fond memories of your time together.
Offer choices. What if your child simply refuses to join the soccer team? Or eat broccoli? What if he can’t get through the new after-dinner family stroll without complaining? Whatever the new activity is, if your child is resistant every step of the way, what can you do?
Most children crave independence, so giving them a sense of control may help their buy-in.
Choose the habit you’d like to change, and ask your child how they’d prefer to change it. For example, if you want your family to be more active, ask if they would rather go for a walk around the neighborhood or shoot hoops at the park. Likewise, if healthy eating is your priority, invite them to search for new dinner recipes. Involving them in decisions is often enough to get their participation, and you might be surprised by what they choose!
Remember the power of positive peer pressure. You’ve undoubtedly heard stories about the stubborn child who only eats crackers, chicken nuggets, and string cheese at home but samples everything on his lunch tray or in friends’ lunchboxes. Conversely, there’s the teen who never wanted to join any extracurriculars until all her friends joined the theater club. Now, she’s all in!
Encourage your child to build friendships with kids who are good role models. With positive peers around them, your child may naturally acquire the habits you’d love to see.
Get help from experts. If your child’s goals are academic, Best in Class Education Centers can challenge your student at just the right level so that they stay motivated to do their best. Our dedicated teachers provide high-quality tutoring and enrichment programs that help them find academic confidence. Newfound confidence can help them in goal areas outside of school, too. Contact us today to learn how Best in Class can set your child up for success this coming new year!