Keep Trying New Things
Exposing your kids to new experiences and trying new things are great ways to challenge your kids.
Nowadays family trips include all-inclusive trips in which families don’t really leave the resort except for a tour here or there. Kids find these trips fantastic because they can eat pizza and nachos all they want. And swim in the pool. Or watch movies.
I have talked to a lot of parents who are uncomfortable to venture anywhere else. Perhaps I am naive, but I am always amazed because the thought of staying on a resort for an entire week seems boring. I don’t give a second thought to going off the beaten track. I stay with the people. I do what the people do. My kids become immersed in different cultures, learning about different foods, different activities, and different ways of living. My kids get to meet all sorts of new people and all sorts of new experiences. They learn to navigate the world despite language barriers. And, most important, they learn to be strong, assertive, and confident.
I recently went on a trip to Vietnam and Thailand with my 8-year-old daughter. We stayed with the people and lived like the people.
My daughter learned how to communicate when no one spoke English. She learned how to cook authentic thai food. She persevered through lengthy hikes through the jungle. And, she learned to cross the street in busy cities without becoming debilitated by fear. (Here is a video of her crossing the street in Vietnam – this was one of our least scary crossings, but each one became easier).
Another great opportunity with some risk is letting kids fly on their own once they are old enough. Maybe not from the other side of the world but let them to a flight on their own to visit grams and gramps.
Now, you don’t need to take your kids around the world. But you can try a new restaurant. Or, go to a new park and have them navigate a new playground. Have them figure out how to take the bus to meet you downtown on their own. Try a new sport. Try a new instrument. Learn a new language. Have them help cook a new meal (rolling sushi is always fun). Have them learn a new game and teach it to you.
As with anything, also show your kids that you are open to taking risks and trying new things too. Talk about how you were glad you tried it, even if it wasn’t your favourite.
By engaging in, and working through, tough situations, kids learn that they can figure it out. They learn that even if it is hard now, that if they keep working, they will eventually get it. They learn that with effort and practice, they get better. Guess what? All of this is not only resilience; we have now helped our kids develop a growth mindset.
Move to #19: Create daily reminders of success