Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Stack the deck.

What you can do

When your child is reluctant to even try a new activity, give her a few options. But be sure to stack the deck with choices that are all possible matches for her interests and abilities. Tell her to choose one of these options.

Keep in mind that to your child, each new activity brings a risk of failure. You can steer her toward appropriate choices that will help make risk-taking a successful experience. Praise and support her each step along the way.

What you can say

“Sofia, it’s time to start planning for our summer activities. There are so many great options at the rec center this year. Let’s look at the brochure together.”

“See, they have arts and crafts, hip-hop, drama and comic book making. All of those are things you love to do at home. So let’s pick one to do at the rec center this summer.”

“The center also offers a bunch of sports. I know you like individual sports better than team sports, so take a look at the write-ups for tennis, swimming and karate. Let’s choose one of those three.”

“Each activity lasts a week, and you can pick which session you want to do your arts activity and which one is better for sports. You’re going to have so much fun! I just wish they had these classes for parents too!”

Why this will help

By offering guided choices that are a good fit for your child’s strengths and interests, you will increase the chance that she’ll remain engaged and experience success. You can then build on these positive experiences to encourage her to branch out to new activities.

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