So, they’re bundled up and ready to go…but still reluctant? Since kids learn by example and feel more secure when they are not alone, one of the best ways to encourage your child to participate is to do the activity with them, or get an older sibling or babysitter to do so. If it really is too difficult to have someone else participating with your child, then be sure to stand and watch the entire time. Take pictures, call out encouraging words, point out every improvement, and downplay each mistake or fall. This is not the time to go inside for a cup of hot coffee. Stick it out with your child—it will be worth it!
Finally, in some cases, the best way to encourage your child to try a new activity is to hire a pro. Your child may feel more secure and ready to continue if a professional teaches him the best way to get up when you fall as well as the basic moves necessary to feel accomplished. This is particularly true with skiing and snowboarding—two sports that demand a certain level of technique mastery in order to feel any success. Most mountains offer group classes that are very reasonably priced and really get your child moving. The bonus to these classes is that you can go inside for your cup of coffee and to rest for a little while before having to take all that equipment off your child.
Dr. Susan Bartell is a Long Island-based, nationally recognized child psychologist, speaker, and award-winning author. Her latest book is “The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask.” You can learn more about Dr. Bartell at drsusanbartell.com.