Parenting Tips for Kids’ New Experiences is a guest post by Nicole Fonovich, co-creator and co-author of Luca Lashes, a line of multilingual eBooks and apps designed to help kids (0-4) turn “fear of firsts” into fun.
Every day parents are confronted with a new experience that their child will have. All parents struggle with this issue, and ask themselves so many questions that confusion typically reigns supreme: “Is my child ready for this experience?” “Will my child be afraid?” “What should I do if he/she is afraid?” “What should I do to prepare them?” “Are they ready to try new things on their own?”
These are just a small sample of questions parents deal with on a regular basis. As the experiences become markedly different and complex, the confusion becomes even more the standard. Obviously the first thing to let all parents know is that they are not doing and have not done anything wrong. If you are asking these questions (and more), you are already well on your way to being a good parent, because a bad parent would not care so much to be that introspective. This reassurance aside, there are some simple rules that could be followed with helping your kids through new experiences that can give you some sense of peace and self-confidence:
1. The earlier the better – With most new experiences, familiarity and repetition breed confidence. So the simple fact is that the younger you expose your child to new experiences, the easier it will be.
2. Model the behavior – This is of vital importance. If your child sees that you are hesitant and afraid of new experiences, they will most likely pick up on that anxiety and display it themselves. There are valuable lessons in self-confidence that a child can learn from modeling these behaviors.
3. Talk through it first – Sometimes it pays to over-prepare as a parent. In the case of having to experience something new, if you have the ability to talk a child through a new experience and have them understand you, you should do it. Describe the experience with as much detail as you can, and give your child an open ear so that you answer any questions they are capable of asking. The most important part of this method is being ready and willing to answer as many questions as you get. Children can get very creative with their worries and fears, and being confident and reassuring in your responses will make the whole experience more worthwhile.
4. Talk about it after – The most important thing now is to talk about what happened. Whatever the result of the experience, this conversation is the most important teaching moment for different experiences later.
No one has the magic elixir for having your children experience the world with discovery and wonder through every moment, but the hope here is that this primer can give parents a starting point. Happy parenting!