How to get your child out of their comfort zone

If you want your child to extend their options and get out of their comfort zone, it’s all about ensuring they try new things — inside and outside of school. Read on as we provide a few ideas.

1. Consider extracurricular activities

Your child’s school will offer a range of extracurricular activities — everything from sport to music and drama. As well as providing a fun after-school activity, these extracurricular programs give your child the opportunity to quash fears and expand their skill set. For instance, your child might consider internal debating competitions if they are a timid speaker.

2. Take up new and different subjects

In the later years of high school, from around Year 9 onwards, your child will have the opportunity to experiment with electives. This not only gives them a chance to test out new areas (with fun new electives like dance or visual communication) but also to work out their niche for their final years of schooling.In Years 11 and 12, your child might explore vocational studies or an alternative senior qualification, such as the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) or International Baccalaureate. The latter is offered in all states, but availability is dependent on the school.

3. Explore learning options outside of the classroom

There are subjects that probably don’t seem that exciting in the average school classroom — maths, science, history and geography being some of the major culprits. Luckily, there are ways for your child to experience these subjects 'in action’ to see how they might be applied in the real world. Depending on where you live, you should be able to find plenty of educational activities — some may be organised by local schools or the council; others, through centres such as Victoria’s Scienceworks or the New South Wales Government’s Sydney Living Museums.

4. Look into study abroad programs

Studying abroad is by far the best way to get your child out of their comfort zone. There is a range of study abroad options, depending on the preferred duration and location of study. With everything from attending a sister school to getting involved in a private exchange program, there’s bound to be something that will suit your child. Hosting an exchange student is another option, giving your child the opportunity to experience a new culture and language without leaving home.

5. Allow your child to experience boredom

These days, we mistakenly believe that children — even teenagers — need constant activities. From playdates in the younger years to entertainment once they reach secondary school, it seems that kids are always on the move… or glued to a screen. Having a routine is great, but consider breaking it up a little by scheduling a family day or encouraging your child to take time out to simply relax, free of commitments. For those families feeling particularly brave, a smartphone-free camping holiday is not a bad option.

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