As parents, our job is to teach our children, and keep them safe and healthy. But at some point, our children are going to need to learn new things on their own or learn from people other than their parents. It’s important to brain development and growth when children begin learning a new activity or skill during their childhood. Once parents muster up the courage to finally let their child spread their wings, some children resist out of fear.
At Miss Colleen’s Elite Dancentre, we see many new students enroll in our dance classes for the first time. It’s so exciting for us to witness and be a part of children’s growth, that we want to see more and more parents teach their children to step out from their comfort zone. Besides ballet classes or jazz and tap dance classes, your child can learn a lot from enrolling into other activities. In today’s article, we’ll help you learn new ways to encourage your child to learn new things and how it can benefit their growth.
Encourage Your Child To Learn Something New
Think back to when you were a child and how you felt the first time you climbed the monkey bars, or talking to the new kid at school, or even trying a new food at dinner time. How did you feel? Most likely, you felt nervous and afraid—but that’s completely normal. This reaction presents fear because new things usually make kids feel uncertain, anxious, vulnerable, and powerless. Now think back on how many things you probably missed out on as a kid simply because you were too nervous. Sadly, many new opportunities are lost because your child isn’t getting the reassurance or the encouragement they need.
Here are a few tips that you can try to help encourage your child to overcome their fear of trying something new:
- Be Supportive and Show Praise
The fear of trying something new is caused by a few reasons like: environment of the situation, upbringing, past experiences, and temperament. It’s important to take these reasons into consideration and respond in a positive and supportive manner. Since fear is a common response among children, it’s crucial that parents praise more than just the successes, and praise the effort, and progress throughout the process. Depending on what the child’s age is, low self-esteem is sometimes a factor that causes children to avert away from taking risks. By praising them along the way, you’ll also show them the love and support they need to improve their self-esteem.
- Give a Little Push
Of course, use your better judgment based on the age of your child to ease them into trying something different. This can be done through a gentle verbal encouragement, or not allowing any other option. A small example could be allowing two dinner options, both options they’ve never had before, and your child can pick which dinner he or she wants. Another option for encouraging an older child, is to instruct them to sign up for a new sport or class during summer vacation, rather than spending the whole summer at home with a babysitter. These kinds of pushes are little more aggressive, but sometimes a new interest comes from a parent.
- Take Baby Steps
Has your child started showing interest in swimming classes, dance classes, or soccer? It’s easy for parents to jump at any opportunity to watch our children learn something new. However, a small curiosity can’t grow when it’s overwhelmed with fear. Before you hurry and enroll your kids into a new class or sport, explore how far their interest goes. Taking small steps toward learning a new skill is like climbing a ladder—slowly, and one step at a time.
Sometimes, a new activity only seems fun because of the specific circumstances surrounding it. For instance, if you attended a wedding recently and your preschooler danced all night long, you might feel inclined to look into dance classes immediately. Instead, try watching some videos of dance recitals together, or maybe throw your own dance party at home to see if that ignites their interest further. Then register them in a beginner’s dance class in Rockville at Miss Colleen’s Elite Dancentre!
- Don’t Give Up
Obviously you don’t want to push and encourage your child to the point where they are kicking and screaming along the way. If they are forced into something that seems scary to them, you risk creating a negative association with that particular activity, and that’s the complete opposite of what your goal is from the start. It’s important to stay calm, gentle, and be inquisitive. On a regular basis, follow up with their current feelings about a new interest. Some children need to take it slow and wrap their own heads around something before they feel confident enough to go further.
- Reward and Reflect On Successes
Even though you are encouraging throughout the entire process, don’t forget to praise and reward the successes too! Congratulate them with a positive reminder about how nervous they were when they started, and look at how it resulted! This helps build confidence, and gives them something to look back on the next time they want to try something new.
Parents have the most challenging role on the planet, there is no denying it. We are our children’s best examples—they look up to us for so many reasons—guidance, assurance, and teaching to name a few. As much as we enjoy meeting young dancers that are joining dance classes for the first time, we get more enjoyment from seeing children fall in love with dance. Learning a new activity, skill, or sport does take encouragement from parents, but it needs to be your children’s idea.
If your little one is showing interest, and communicating they want to sign up for dance classes, be sure to visit Miss Colleen’s Elite Dancentre in Rockville. We offer a variety of ballet, jazz, tap, and hip-hop classes for children of all ages and skill levels. Visit our site, look at our schedule and classes, and enroll today!