What Happens When Kids Get Stuck in a Comfort Zone?

By Jaime Vargas-Benitez
A child breaking free from his comfort zone can achieve amazing heights.
A child breaking free from his comfort zone can achieve amazing heights.

When a child feels comfortable in a particular place in his life, he might have difficulty leaving that place. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying a comfort zone, there can come a time when a child needs to break free in order to find a new place of comfort. When children move beyond their comfort zones, they find new experiences, new people, and a whole new world. While that can seem a little scary at first, the love and support of family and friends provides comfort and security, making it easier to grow beyond a familiar zone.


A child losing his drive to excel academically can indicate he is a stuck in a rut. Children who are constantly praised for intelligence instead of achievement can fall into a rut, as can a child who is fearful or disappointed, according to Bing Times Online, published by Stanford University. Having fallen into a rut, the child will perform at a mediocre level rather than his previous, higher level of achievement. Parents are advised to praise a child's accomplishments and not push a child towards perfection because this can backfire, leaving the child afraid to leave his comfort zone.

Social Skills

The social comfort zone of a young child who does not interact with others regularly will shrink, and the pattern could continue through childhood and into later years, explains the child development site, Zero to Three. While feeling lonely, these children are more afraid of what's outside the zone, such as rejection. As Zero to Three explains, this further inhibits development of social skills, making it even harder for the child to break free. Encourage social interaction early in a child's life, providing opportunity to be around peers and people in general. This is achieved through playgroups, park visits, and library time. Children need to practice socializing regularly in order to develop healthy social skills.


If a child is experiencing anxiety, this can be due to being stuck in a comfort zone. When a child is stuck in a comfort zone, new experiences or people can leave him feeling anxious. When a child becomes too comfortable in her routine, he does not deal well with the unknown. This can lead to anxiety issues, as can pushing a child to stretch too far beyond his comfort zone, explains the American Academy of Pediatrics. The AAP recommends parents be aware of their own comfort zones because a child often mimics what he sees in his parents. Also, as the AAP details on its website Health Children.org, anxiety can lead to depression, and chronic anxiety is detrimental; if you suspect your child has anxiety issues, consult with your pediatrician.


It's important for a teenager to be ready to move outside his comfort zone to reach new goals. In a survey completed by the child development experts at Kids Health.org, 900 teenagers of varying ages were interviewed about goal setting and achievement. The survey concluded that setting a goal was the easy part, while changing old habits was hardest. A teen stuck in his comfort zone will have an even more difficult time with learning new skills, achieving higher grades, or even learning how to drive a car. The motivation needed to achieve new goals requires a child to move beyond the comfort zone into the unknown.

About the Author

Jaime Vargas-Benitez has been a parenting writer since 2010. She has worked in the child wellness field in various roles for over 20 years. Along with the experiences of raising her own kids, she has been privileged enough to participate in the raising of hundreds of other children as well.