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Helping children step over fear – ways to encourage them to try new things.

Osca during an MentorME outreach at Wisdom Primary

Some of us will admit it: Growing up, we were afraid to try new things. We didn’t  want to do anything that we weren’t good at—what was the fun in that And if we weren’t certain that we would excel at an activity or skill, we usually chose to avoid it. Fear is a common response to new challenges or experiences. These situations make children feel uncertain, vulnerable, powerless, and anxious. They strip away a child’s sense of security and control. As a result, many children avoid the unfamiliar. They prefer NOT to risk attempting something new, leading to missed opportunities and setting a negative pattern that can persist into adult life.

Through this kind of behaviour, we miss lots of opportunities to learn something new, to try out things and also to challenge ourselves. It’s therefore imperative to help children who are after us to conquer fear as early as 4 years – because when we do it, we help them secure their future. Here is how you can do it.

1. Be Supportive of Progress, and the Process

A student at Wisdom, painting

Children may fear trying new things for a number of reasons, including environment, upbringing, past experiences, and temperament. It’s so important to support them through a process as they try something new.If you want your child to be fearless in the face of new challenges, show him that “success” isn’t necessarily dependent on outcomes. Success can mean a willingness to try, put forth your best effort, and show gradual improvement. When your child does take a risk, point out that you’re proud of his bravery, and he’ll be even more willing to try something new in the future.

2. Show them that they can “I Can” 

Emma engaging with the children at Wisdom Primary

That next time when your child is worried he won’t be able to accomplish a task, remind him or her of all the things they can do using an  “I can”.You can remind them of this through asking your child ” Have you always been able to do this? How did you learn to do this? How did you get better at this skill?” This reinforces the point that none of his abilities have been acquired overnight, and it may give him the courage and motivation to try something new.

To be continued in the next blog post. 

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