Encourage your child to try new things. Whenever possible, suggest being her partner and trying out the activity together.
Emphasize the value of taking a positive risk regardless of whether your child ends up mastering the new activity. Point out other possible benefits such as making new friends, getting exercise or even, for older kids, improving a college application or job résumé.
Talk about risks you’ve taken in the past with both positive and negative results. Praise your child for being willing to try something new. Acknowledge her efforts, and look for even the smallest signs of progress so you can celebrate them.
What you can say
“Sofia, I think it would great for us to try ice skating together. You’re such a good dancer. And I have a feeling that with some practice, you could be good at skating too.”
“I’m sure in the beginning both of our butts will spend some time sitting on the ice. But we both have a good sense of humor, and we won’t be the only ones who are a little wobbly out there. Once you get the hang of it, ice skating could be a good way of meeting some new friends.”
“Would you like to go out to eat afterwards? There’s a good pizza place near the rink.”
Why this will help
Positive risk-taking is very important for children’s development. It helps move them toward greater independence, develop new skills and create social contacts.
Many kids with learning and attention issues are scared to try a new activity. They may expect to fail at it or they may fear being socially rejected by other participants.
Offering to share a new experience together can be a good way to encourage your child to give it a try. Combining it with an activity you know she likes can help you seal the deal.