Skip to main content

Pushing Children Beyond Their Comfort Zone - Striking the Right Balance

My mother, who is also my partner at work (this may seem odd, but we do complement each other in our skillsets, this makes us a good team), takes some of the batches in our online homeschooling in India program. These are live and interactive sessions, where parent and child attend together and are part of small groups of children for guided learning sessions. She also handles communication with the parent body, something we have learned is a very crucial aspect - at times, it is our responsibility to give the right guidance to parents as much as addressing queries which they may have.

So two instances happened in the last couple of months, where a concerned parent called us up to tell us that their child was only interested in some of the activities, which seemed more fun in nature, while they tended to either show disinterest, or run away from some of the other activities. 

Their query to us had two dimensions - 

1. Should the nature of activities be changed?

2. Were we pushing the children into doing activities they were not ready for?

The above quote beautifully encapsulates what we want to share on this topic. If we look at things rationally, then in life, there is a certain pattern we all must follow, irrespective of age.

Being Exposed to a New Task/Concept

None of us are born experts in any area. We must learn to do everything from scratch. An infant learns to lift their head, a toddler learns to crawl then walk, a preschooler learns ABCs or art, a grade 1 child learns to read, a middle schooler learns algebra, a college grad learns to specialize in a field. You get the gist. At every developmental stage, we first get exposed to a new concept, which initially may seem tough to grasp.

Falling Into a Comfort Zone

Once we fall into the rhythm of undertaking this new task or concept, we gradually learn to accept it as routine, and tend to fall into a comfort zone. It can become fun or at times, convenient, as we master it. 

Being Exposed to a New Task/Concept

At this stage, the cycle must repeat, as we challenge ourselves with a new task.

This is the premise for growth. If we were to remain comfortable with the limited tasks we master, then there would be stagnation in learning. Unless we face new challenges, growth does not happen.

The same holds true for early learning as well. Toddlers find it easy to fall into a comfort zone - initially they may resist getting their hands dirty with colours, once they begin to enjoy it, they can spend hours doing these sensory activities. Similarly, for any new activity, when they have to initially apply themselves, physically or mentally, they may resist these activities. With persistence, they begin to enjoy the challenge posed by these activities till they master them.

How Do You Find the Right Balance in Pushing A Child Beyond the Comfort Zone?

This is a crucial question to answer. How does one know whether they are challenging their children just right? How to ascertain that children are not pressurized into doing activities which are beyond their years? 

This same question comes into picture when one is choosing a learning pedagogy for their child. The school you choose must be aligned to your philosophy - the choice must not be determined by rankings alone. This determines in large part what could be considered as pushing your child beyond their comfort zone, as different pedagogies focus on different approaches to incorporate learning.

As a for instance, a conventional school may focus more on concrete concepts. If you are in sync with that, it works, but, there may be another parent who may feel there is plenty of time to learn reading or writing later on. Another school may focus recall based activities, which children may find challenging initially.

As a general approach, you may consider the following -

1. Understand the pedagogy before finalising a school.

2. Trust that the school must have done sufficient research on what is age appropriate basis their pedagogy.

3. Most important - be patient. Some children welcome and thrive when a new challenge is thrown at them. However, by and large, most children will resist the new stimulus. Give them and their educators the time to build on the fundamentals before they learn to enjoy a new activity.

At Morning Glorie, we always encourage our parents to communicate with us, be it our preschool and daycare, or our online homeschooling in India program. With constant communication, it is easier to assess both sides of the picture. 

In our homeschooling module in particular, parents have the unenviable task of getting their children to execute learning, so their feedback on what their children are doing and what they are struggling with is invaluable. However, at the same time, it is important to remember that no activity can generally be mastered in the first go. With repetition, even challenging activities become fun, so that time must be given to each child. This serves two purposes -

A. Growth in learning

B. Understanding that some tasks need to be done even if they do not like it. This is an important life skill to acquire.

Learning and growth is a pattern as well as a cycle - this can be accomplished only by exposure to new stimuli time and again, age no bar. 

Up Next - Youngest or Oldest in Class- The Age Old Dilemma


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Musings of a Pioneer: Playschool Learning for Toddlers (Part 2)

 …Till we were struck by a miniscule virus – the Covid 19. It is important for the child to continue to have the additional support in their most important brain development phase – the two to four-year-old age bracket – when the brain develops rapidly to almost 80 percent of a fully developed brain. It is important for the child to have external support to develop cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and motor skills. It is important for the toddler to be exposed to a peer group and caregivers other than parents, whom they could observe and imitate for holistic development to happen. It is important for the child to be in a more conducive environment at school where they could indulge in their favourite pastimes in a non-judgemental atmosphere. It is also important for the child to continue to have an environment where they can interact socially with their peer group. This environment is now being denied to the children of this age bracket of two to four years. Many young

Stories for Values and Good Habits in Children

Do you have a favourite book/series? Have you ever thought about why it is your favourite? Even when the entire story line is not perfect (it can never be), you are drawn to it over and over. You maybe drawn to a different book in different stages of your life, but there may still be some that will remain eternal favourites. If I reflect on my favourite books/series, the main attraction for me has been associating with the characters, figuring out what was best in them, associating with those traits in myself, and trying to emulate those that I thought I didn't have as yet. Hermione was who I thought I was - follow the rules, do everything right, strive to be the best. But Fred amd George had traits I wanted in me - dare to follow your dreams, don't compare yourself with others, it only matters that you are the best version of yourself. Howard Roarke taught me that it is important to have conviction in your own work - it does not matter what others think, so long as you are hap

Toddler Milestones - Language Development and the Role of Stories

A while back, we had done a post on Toddler Milestones and Language Development.  In this post, we will more specifically examine the role which stories play at this crucial stage in a toddler's life. Language development can broadly be divided into two parts. Comprehension Language development in children starts with understanding or comprehending what is being communicated, and this starts as early as the fetus stage of life. Children can listen to sounds before they are even born, and they learn to distinguish the different sounds around them in the first couple of months of their life. Over time, they begin to understand the exact message that is being communicated to them through the medium of speech in the language which is being used at home. Which is why children as young as 2 to 3 months and certainly around 6 to 7 months seem to understand what their parents or other caregivers around them are saying. Speech Speech is the next step involved in language development, and ty