I’m sure some of us have been there. We take our children somewhere that we know they are going to love or sign them up for a sport or activity, only to have them experience an anxiety freeze and miss out on an opportunity that was sure to be fun.
A strategy that has been successful in supporting kids in breaking through their block of trying something new is to put a time parameter around a trial.
I remember working with a 3rd-grade girl in a social group, who, as much as we could clearly see wanted to join in an energetic game, but just could not move her feet to do so. I said to her, “You know, it only takes 20 seconds of courage to try something. Anyone can be brave for 20 seconds, right? It’s not that long. I’ll even join too. So we did, and in less than 20 seconds, she was fully immersed in the fun.
Another time trick is to suggest that your child *try one new thing, one time, for one minute* and then, if they decide the activity isn’t for them, they at least now can make a better-informed decision.
I’ve had kids come back and tell me they used their 20 seconds of bravery at swim lessons, skiing, horseback riding, attending a party, or joining a group of kids at recess.
When we put a time parameter into play around trying something new, we’ve given a child a greater feeling of control. When you feel more in control of a situation, it becomes less-anxiety provoking.
How will you use 20 seconds of bravery today?
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