A comfort zone can soothe, but it can also spoil. Still, it’s one thing to leave that safety under one’s own steam and another to be yanked out. (www.nytimes.com) from the article ‘tiptoeing out of one’s comfort zone (and of course, back in)
What is a comfort zone?
"a behavioural state where a person operates in an anxiety-neutral position." Bardwick (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfort_zone)
Anyone can slip into a comfort zone at any time. As far as a comfort zone is concerned there are no age, race or language barriers. The longer you stay in a comfort zone, the more difficult it is to get out.
As parents, if your child has slipped into a comfort zone, then most probably the child’s experiences are being limited or can be considered monotonous. When a child’s experiences are limited, learning is limited. This is not favourable towards a child’s cognitive, psychological and physical growth and development.
How do you get kids out of their comfort zone?
1. Expose them to different environments
Encouragement to be part of different social groups, communities can expose them to different environments and social experiences. These experiences serve as fertile learning grounds. Children learn a lot about behaviour, social perceptions, and expectations. It also becomes an ideal place for information and knowledge exchange. But the most influential environment on children should come from their family and home. Parents should ensure that the influence from these environments does not lead the child away from core values.
2. The Associative Learning Theory : Changing routine and bad habits
It could be that the circumstances of the last year have goaded children into a certain routine that has developed into a comfort zone. A lot of children and adults have found the comfort of their homes so comfortable that they are unwilling to step out of their homes. Children want to go to school from home and parents want to work from home. The only way to get out of our comfort zones is to change routine and try out new things. Sometimes, something as simple as changing the place of learning. Or ensuring that their devices are kept away during the nights can have a great impact on behaviour.
The Associative Learning Theory (https://www.alleydog.com/glossary/definition.php?term=Association+Theory) states that behaviour can be modified or learned based on a stimulus and a response. So, behaviour can be modified just by changing stimuli that the child is exposed to. Parents can observe behavioural responses from children based on the various stimuli. This way parents learn to understand their children better and where their interests lie. Exposing them to new learning experiences also distracts them from any bad habit they may have developed or may seem to be slipping into. The faster parents respond to a bad habit, the easier it is to change.
3. Help them develop new hobbies
Make new experiences a habit so that children are not surprised when asked to do something new. The easiest way to help a child develop a new hobby is to encourage them to participate in a variety of activities. It is also important for parents to let the children know that the joy of participating is more important that the joy of winning. When children participate in activities that they are not good at, they learn a very important lesson. That is, how to cope with failure. When you help children overcome the fear of failure, you help seek adventure. When you help them seek adventure, they begin to see joy in the new and the now. Encourage spontaneity and new experiences.
‘Everything you want is on the other side of failure’ Jack Canfield
One way to help them develop new interests is by giving them choices and letting them know what their options are. Once children know that there are other children trying out new things, it would be easier to convince them to enrol for a new class or join a new club in the neighbourhood.
When our organisation Learner Circle began, our biggest vision was to bring children of the world together on a journey of infinite learning. We find it rather exhilarating in watching ordinary children try the extraordinary while pushing themselves out of their comfort zone. It is in this journey of learning, building a community and empowering children with various skills that we find the magic of tomorrow.
We have some amazing courses curated for children who seek adventure and knowledge. For children who are ready to step out of their comfort zones and try something new.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for a conversation or a free demo!