Most of us crave stability, and, as a parent, you likely want a structured lifestyle for your child. Establishing daily routines is often the best way to ensure that. The benefits of having a routine include reducing stress, increasing independence, and building healthy habits. But what are we missing out on when we stick to the same systems?
Despite being beneficial, following the same structure day in and out has the potential to place kids in a comfort zone. And, while it feels safe there, trying new things can unlock creativity and new ways of thinking. When we learn how to get kids out of their comfort zone, it’s easier for us to help them discover their passions, become better problem-solvers, and develop as learners. So, it’s important to remember that although most children avoid the unfamiliar, you can help them learn to adapt to change seamlessly as individuals and students.
The Benefits of Trying New Things
For many children, trying new things produces anxiety. But, as they say, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” Thankfully, finding things to do outside of your comfort zone almost always yields positive results. By helping your child do so, they can:
- Discover untapped potential
- Improve their skill sets
- Boost their confidence
- Accept and embrace change
- Develop a growth mindset
Assisting your child doesn’t have to be hard, either! It all starts with considering their needs and creating “out of your comfort zone” activities that help them better understand why new territory isn’t as scary as they perceive it to be.
Helping Your Elementary Schooler Out of Their Comfort Zone
According to experts, the early years of a child’s life are essential to development. Each experience shapes their overall growth into what kind of adult they become. Kids are naturally inquisitive beings, so tackling comfort zone challenge ideas begins with creating activities and practices that fuel their curiosity.
Incorporate Improv Brain Breaks.
Most young learners absorb knowledge best when they participate in hands-on instruction. Brain breaks during the school day are the perfect way for you to challenge their imagination and lead them to thinking outside of the box. In addition to taking a much-needed break, your child is also learning how to think on their feet, problem-solve, and use their creativity at school and in everyday situations. If your child is in online school, taking a break can be particularly easy. You can opt to stay in or take your child outside to discover different elements in their environment. Plus, impromptu learning breaks require no additional preparation.
Select a Challenging Activity Each Week.
You can encourage your early learner to embrace the unknown by selecting a challenging weekly activity. One great activity option is playing a board game with your child. While board games are fun, they also force your child to strategize and think critically before every move. To take it a step further, you could task your child with inventing their very own board game where they create rules and think up the concepts. That way, they can get the best of both worlds—fun and learning development.
Helping Your Middle Schooler Out of Their Comfort Zone
In middle school, kids are becoming young adults and forming their unique personalities. Therefore, learning how to get kids out of their comfort zone and prioritizing practices that help them build independence can be beneficial to their growth.
Find Extracurricular Activities.
From sports to dance lessons, extracurriculars can help students see the world in a new light. Allowing your child to choose an after-school activity based on their interests will not only improve their social skills, it will help them learn the importance of responsibility and commitment. Extracurriculars place your child in settings where they take ownership for their actions, which translates well into the classroom. Research also shows that youth who participate in extracurriculars tend to do better academically.
Let Your Child Teach You.
Building confidence is key in helping your child break out of their comfort zone. Although there are many ways to approach personal empowerment, public speaking is one proactive way for students to put their responsibility into practice. You can help your child by swapping roles for the day and allowing them to teach you a formal lesson. During the course of the lesson, they would be the expert—learning in real-time what it means to pivot and think on their toes. Though it may be uncomfortable at first, it’s the perfect challenge to overcome fear of the unknown.
Helping Your High Schooler Out of Their Comfort Zone
The transition from junior high to high school is a huge shift. Apart from school and extracurriculars, other factors like after-school jobs and college decisions come into play. At this stage, it can be easy for kids to retreat back to where they feel safe. However, with life after high school in closer reach, this is the optimal time for your student to step outside of their comfort zone and discover their passion.
Teach Time-Management Skills.
As an adult, organization and time-management skills are critical. If your child attends online school, you have more opportunity to influence their education and help build confidence in this area. One concrete way to assist with these skills is tasking your child to keep track of their own schedule, deadlines, and assignments. Whether using a planner or journal, this practice helps young adults set a new tone. You likely planned out their days in middle school, but high school is the perfect time for your child to take more control of their academic career.
Projects with a Purpose.
Most students, if not all, are thinking about what their next step is after high school. Before they decide what colleges they are applying to or what career path they will seek out, getting involved in causes they care about will have a positive impact on their confidence. Volunteer projects enable them to discover dreams, passions, and personal capabilities they never knew existed. And having a grasp on their passions will help them hone their skills in and outside of the classroom.
Finding things for your child to do outside of their comfort zone is a great way to build their confidence and equip them with the knowledge they need to be exceptional learners and leaders. As their Learning Coach and parent, you can make uncomfortable situations possible to conquer. In addition to this youth lesson on comfort zones, learn more about how other parents are fostering an environment for growth with these 4 Life Hacks for Being Your Online Student’s Learning Coach.