People, young and old alike, find comfort in routine. It’s important, though, that we try new things at times so we can grow and learn. Helping your child try new things can be a challenge because of that love of routine, but it is possible. Here are a few ways to help your child explore new things.
Trying new food. Some ways to encourage your child to try a new food include: putting it on your own plate (the grass is always greener); offering it on more than one occasion; creating a fun face shape out of the food to entice your hesitant eater; or changing the scenery, such as making a picnic out of it or offering it at a friend’s house.
Trying new activities. Start small when you try new activities. Let your child know that you’ll be doing something new, like checking out a new park or library. Then take it one day at a time.
Trying new behaviors. If your child tends to be shy, you can encourage him or her to practice speaking to neighbors with a simple “hello” or a wave. Teach your child how to introduce himself or herself by practicing together first, then encouraging it again at the park with another child.
Trying new routines. As children grow up, routines tend to shift. Prepare your child for those changes in routine by telling him or her what the new routine will look like. Then slowly ease into the new schedule, step by step, rather than making a complete overhaul at once.
Consider asking your child to help you make a list of new things to try. By getting him or her involved in the process, your child may take greater ownership of the activity and actually be excited to try it out! Also, be your child’s biggest cheerleader. Each time he or she does try something new, give praise for it.