10 Ways to Expand Your Child’s Comfort Zone

There is a common expression in which people say you should “get out of your comfort zone”.  At 52 Brand New, we are trying new experiences all the time, but we don’t go out of our comfort zone.  No, that would imply we are uncomfortable with the new things we are trying.  We want to have fun and enjoy our experiences, not be uncomfortable.  So, I like to say we are expanding our comfort zones.  Every time we try a new activity, our comfort zone grows a bit.  An experience that was once unfamiliar is now something we are comfortable doing.  The larger a person’s comfort zone, the more confident and adventurous the person will feel.

So, here are a few great ways to expand your child’s comfort zone.  Why not try one today?

1. Try a new food.   Children’s menus are filled with chicken nuggets and french fries.  Why not treat your child to something he has never tried before?  It could be a dish from your heritage or something you may have read about in a book.  Now that it is spring, so many colorful and tasty vegetables can be found in the supermarket.  You could also look at pictures of recipes you find on Pinterest or in your favorite cookbook.  You and your child might decide on something to cook together.

2. Sleep in a new place.  You don’t have to stay at a 5 star hotel or travel out of state to sleep in a new place.  Visit a family member and stay overnight.  My children love sleepovers with their cousins.  You can even sleep in a new place without leaving the house.   My kids received sleeping bags for their birthdays this year and like to sleep in each other’s rooms for a night.  Sleeping in a new place is more about changing routines than about where you actually go.

3. Befriend a creepy crawly.   I teach my children that we may think snakes, insects, or spiders are ugly, but they are living creatures and should be respected.   I’ve found that the more we learn about creepy crawlies, the less frightening they seem.  This year we have touched bugs and snakes and are trying to lose our fear of them.  If touching a tarantula is way too far outside your comfort zone, try raising a butterfly or just catching some backyard bugs in a jar to observe.

4. Go to a cultural event.  It is human nature to stay with people who are similar to ourselves, but we can learn so much from everyone.  Listening to music and stories from South America was one of my children’s favorite new experiences this year.   Other events I look forward to taking my children to this year are an Indian dance show and an Italian food festival.   You can find out what countries interest your children and look for cultural events centered around that country.

5. Break out of gender stereotypes.  My daughter loves tea parties and princesses.  My son loves baseball and Star Wars.  They both seem to be very comfortable with activities that are typical for their own gender.  But, my daughter once went to a Monster Truck show and loved it.  Luke was practically dragged into Princesses on Ice, but once we were there, he enjoyed the show.  Why not have a tea party with your son?  Why not play hockey with your daughter?  Chances are, if they are spending time with you, they will have fun no matter what you do.

6. Talk to a stranger.  We are so careful to teach our children not to talk to strangers that many children become uncomfortable around any adult they meet.  When your children are with you, be careful not to speak for them.  The next time you are in a restaurant, let them tell the waiter what they would like to eat.   Have them buy a trinket at the dollar store all on their own.  Talking to strangers (under your supervision) can teach children manners and self-reliance.

7. Try an unfamiliar sport.  Most kids love to be active, so trying a new sport can be lots of fun.   Watch the Olympics as a family this summer and look for sports you’ve never tried.   There are numerous possibilities and all involve exercise and spending time as a family.  What could be better?

8. Get your feet off the ground.  A fear of heights is one of the most common phobias among adults.  Children seem to be less fearful of heights, so climbing and jumping off tall objects can be fun to them.   Many indoor rock climbing facilities allow children as young as 5 to climb their walls.  A cheaper alternative is letting your children climb a backyard tree or jump off a diving board.

9. Get dirty.  I used to think that all kids like to get dirty.  Boy, was I wrong.  My daughter gets upset if she gets a stain on her clothing.  My son doesn’t like the feel of finger paint or mud on his fingers.  But when I let them paint like Jackson Pollock and splatter paint all over large pieces of paper, they had a blast.  It doesn’t have to be a big project. Just find an activity that your kids will enjoy as they get messy.  Bake mud pies, splash in puddles, finger paint, whatever you think will be novel to your children.  If you don’t like messy activities, this will be an activity that helps you expand your comfort zone, too!

10. Be bored.  Sometimes as parents we feel like we have to constantly entertain our children.  However, I think we actually do them a disservice if we keep them entertained all day long.  Children today don’t need more TV time, more computer time, or more after school activities.  Children today just need time to play without any adult intervention at all.  More imaginative play will take place in your home if you allow your children to become bored.

 

Related Posts:  5 Reasons to Try Something New With Your Child Today

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I am a single stay at home mom who is determined to live life to its fullest.
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30 Responses to 10 Ways to Expand Your Child’s Comfort Zone

  1. Pingback: A Simple Way to Help Your Child Become A Better Reader (No Books Necessary!) « Imagination Soup | Fun Learning and Play Activities for Kids

  2. I love the concept of ‘expanding your comfort zone’ rather than being ‘out of your comfort zone’. Beautifully worded. :)

  3. fmzahner says:

    Yes be bored. I am an advocate. My oldest child doesn’t understand why he can’t have an iPhone or i anything like his friends. He needs air, imagination, outdoor play, cooperative play. He doesn’t need more technology. [check out the post I did just tonight on the pull of technology from a different perspective.] Thanks for a great inspiration in your 52 challenges.

  4. Pingback: 10 Things Every Child Should Experience in Summer « 52 Brand New

  5. Gina @famiglia&seoul says:

    I just wanted you to know that I featured this on my Weekly Kid’s Co-op post. Thanks for sharing your inspiring thoughts!

  6. Pingback: Share Your Love Story - How Do You Know When It’s Time To Leave Your Comfort Zone?

  7. Kim of Little Stories says:

    I love this. I think it’s so important for us all to get out of our comfort zones because that’s where a lot of learning can happen! I, like everyone else, love #10. I think boredom ranks up there with frustration for allowing for creativity and new experiences! http://thelittlestories.com/2012/03/26/up-mt-frustration/

    • 52BrandNew says:

      Thanks! I think you are right about frustration. It is not necessarily a bad thing since it helps children (and adults) learn to solve problems.

  8. Great list!I think it’s very important for the children to get bored and come up with what to do on their own. Unfortunately some children are so over scheduled they don’t have the time to get bored and if they do, they just don’t know what to do.Shared your post on my FB.

  9. Pingback: How Do You Know When It’s Time To Leave Your Comfort Zone? | Share Your Love Story

  10. That was a great list. Thanks for sharing it. And, these days, if my daughter says, “im bored” I say, “lucky you!” lol :D Debs (Learn with Play @ home)

    • 52BrandNew says:

      Ooh, I like the response of “Lucky you!” I may use that! I usually tell my kids that only boring people get bored. Interesting people find something to do.

  11. This is such a fabulous list!! I am pinning this!
    In the first picture, are your kids on sand dunes? We went to some massive sand dunes when we vacationed in NC, and it was a challenge for my daughter but such a wonderful experience and way for her to go outside her comfort zone.

  12. This is great – I especially love the challenge gender roles one. Too many adults inadvertently reinforce those typical gender roles in kids. It’s worth it to be reminded to challenge them more often! Thanks for linking up with the Kids Co-Op this week. :)

  13. AWESOME!!!! I love “expanding our comfort zone”! Number 10 is my favorite….I will most certainly be passing this one on.

  14. 4l1c says:

    Very insightful.
    Children are so over scheduled these days.
    Technology is taking away their imaginations.
    These are great ideas.Thanks for sharing.

  15. awakeshawn says:

    Big fan of being bored. Something magical always comes out of it. We recently took our first vacation overnight in three years!! That new experience has us ready for many more!

  16. I love these ideas! I think a lot of people are afraid to try new thing because they are uncomfortable with them. It’s great to show others that they can still give their kids new experiences while still staying in their comfort zone!

  17. I have always said my nieces and nephews don’t know what it is liked to be bored! You hit the nail on the head with “More imaginative play will take place in your home if you allow your children to become bored.”

  18. iGameMom says:

    Particular like the last one – I had never connected “being bored” to “out of comfort zone”. Now thinking about it, it actually is.

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