Risky Kids LogoRisky Kids
The Stages Of Becoming Novelty
Emotional Development
12 April 2024

The Stages of Becoming: The First Step, Novelty

How to read our work

60 second skim6 minute read

We know you know how to read! But life is busy, you're busy and this might not be what you're looking for. Skim it first, read it later.

Each Risky Kids Article can be read:

  • In it's entirety (just read it all), or
  • Skim read. To skim read it, just read The FOCUS, SUMMARY and then all of the DOT POINTS and you're done!


In our first step, we often learn quickly and smoothly. This can be exciting, but if we’re not experienced learners we can confuse novelty with value. Learn what to expect in the first stage, and how to navigate it with your Risky Kid as a family.


Discover the early stages of a child’s learning journey in our “Stages of Becoming” series. This article delves into the Novelty Stage, exploring the excitement of new challenges and offering strategies for parents to keep their children engaged as initial enthusiasm wanes.

  • Explores the Novelty Stage of learning, highlighting initial engagement and rapid skill acquisition.
  • Discusses common feelings of anxiety and excitement in early learning.
  • Highlights potential for “Novelty Addiction” where continuous novelty is needed to maintain interest.
  • Offers strategies for parents to support sustained engagement as novelty fades.

The Stages of Becoming: The First Step, Novelty

The early stages of learning can be the easiest, but also inversely the time when many learners will disengage or families disengage. 

  • Explores the Novelty Stage as the critical first step in learning.
  • Discusses how initial excitement may wane, leading to disengagement.
  • Series aims to tackle common challenges in early learning stages.

While everything is new, depending on our previous experiences in learning and life, we might also find that this newness, once gone, signals in us a desire to move on, that’s it’s not “right for us”.

This article is one in a series called “The Stages of Becoming”. In it we’ll be exploring the very first stage of learning which is known as the Novelty stage and focuses on the way early learning is experienced. In the first article we got a broad perspective of what the process was, in each of these articles on the individual stages we’re going to delve into not just how to tell what the stage looks and feels like, but also how we can respond to the common challenges.

The first step of any learning journey will always be one of the most important. Without it, no other steps can happen!

How The Novelty Stage Feels

The very first steps of learning can be challenging.

  • Initial learning steps are challenging but quickly lead to significant progress.
  • New skills and knowledge feel exciting, promoting consistent growth.
  • Support from coaches and teachers is crucial and readily accepted.

We might be anxious about what the expectations are, we’ve got very little information and we’re not going to know anyone! This doesn’t typically last too long, and once it’s overcome the saying “ignorance is bliss” comes to the fore! Because everything is new, we feel like we’re learning a lot, quickly! We make big progress quickly, because we’re often learning foundational skills which are often easy to acquire.

For these reasons, we’ll experience a feeling of consistent growth. By nature, the new pursuit is novel and interesting! This is attractive to our minds, as we’re often drawn to challenges. We’ll definitely need lots of support at this stage from our coaches and teachers, but this is something we’re typically happy to ask for and accept, because we know we’re just beginning.

The Good Stuff

Engagement and growth is high early on.

  • Early stages are filled with enjoyable novelty and surmountable challenges.
  • Challenges now may complicate learning in later stages.
  • High focus and effort required, keeping learners engaged.

Our brains really like novelty and challenge, and the early stages are chock full of it. Not just that, but the challenges are often quite easy to overcome! This is going to create a bit of a stumbling block for us in the next stage, but for now it’s a positive.

Our learners at this stage are also highly focused. It takes a lot of conscious effort and concentration to learn, so that keeps our minds engaged.

Novelty Stage

The Challenges

The challenges of the Novelty Stage are often rooted more in what’s likely to have happened up until that moment with our learners.

  • Modern kids often develop “Novelty Addiction” from trying multiple activities.
  • Anxiety may lead to avoidance tactics, reducing future resilience.
  • High support needs in early stages ensure solid foundational learning.

It’s highly common for the modern kid to try multiple hobbies or sports each year, compared to previous generations. This can create a “Novelty Addiction” where novelty is confused with value.

That means that learners are often unfamiliar with how to remain engaged when novelty diminishes. This means educators or Coaches are often left trying to keep things as new as often as possible, and the tolerance for things which aren’t novel shrinks even further!

Similarly, if young people are anxious about starting something new, there’s a good chance that they’ll try and use avoidance strategies to get out of starting. If not navigated right, their successful avoidance at this stage can mean that they use that strategy again and earlier next time they feel that way, and also that their resilience diminishes.

Finally at this stage, learners require a lot of support. That’s why at Risky Kids our early program steps have the lowest class ratios, so that the team can create the strongest foundations as early as possible.

The First Steps and Early Learning

Sam At The Novelty Stage

Remember Sam from the first article? We’re back with a deeper look. Sam came along to try Risky Kids. There was a chance that they were going to be nervous, there’s a 1 in 4 chance that as a young person Sam has serious anxiety. The Risky Kids team and Sam’s family helped Sam navigate those feelings though, and after a few sessions Sam settled in.

Sam is likely to remain in the Novelty Stage all through the first 10 to 15 weeks. Things are new, which is exciting and interesting. Sam doesn’t mind when the Coaches give them feedback because they’re new to this! They pick up skills like the Parkour Moves quickly, and also begin to learn the Mindsets and refer to them in class and at home.

There is a chance that Sam also suffers from a common problem known as  “Novelty Addiction”. This is where things need to be highly novel, consistently to maintain Sam’s attention. If Sam did start to get bored quickly, it’s not a sign that Risky Kids isn’t “for” Sam, but a more likely case that Sam has associated novelty with value. Once the Novelty begins to diminish in later weeks, Sam might disengage. The family lets the team know this, and they work together to get through it.

What Families Should Expect

Navigating early stages can be tough at times. Make sure you work with everyone, from your Risky Kid to your Risky Kids Team / Coaches / Teachers to help.

When your Risky Kid is going through the Novelty Stage, the most common behaviours you’re likely to see will be:

  • Anxiousness or nerves early on, possibly even avoidant or refusal behaviour,
  • Improvements and self confidence increasing quickly,
  • Commonly enthusiasm and engagement if resilience is normal to high,
  • If resilience is low, moderate participation and engagement,
  • Towards the later weeks, disengagement behaviour might begin to emerge with language such as “I’m bored”, “I don’t want to go”, etc.

In the case of your Risky Kids learning going well at this stage, make sure to celebrate it with them! However make sure you help them to understand early that learning will get harder as they go, and they need to be ready for that. If they do disengage, make sure to validate how they feel, but not their desire to quit.

Families should be prepared to help young people to face down anxiety, and explore the difference between things being new and things being valuable. Discuss how most things are exciting at the start, but to become an expert takes years!

Statements like “Just try it and if you don’t like it you don’t have to do it” should be replaced with “What is it that you’re finding difficult, and what can we do to change that?”. For more advice on navigating disengagement, check out our articles on The Art Of Quitting! Most importantly, work with your Risky Kids team if you see early signs of disengagement.

What’s Next

Our next Stage of Becoming is known as the Grasp stage. This is one of the harder stages of learning, and many Risky Kids and families struggle to navigate it alone. It’s where our learners have mastered the basics, but don’t yet know how all the pieces work together.

This challenging time is where deep resilience and learning occurs, not just in terms of learning about the pursuit itself, but also about how we contend with the challenge of learning.

Richard Williams

Richard Williams

Risky Kids Founder, Director of Programming

Richard Williams is a fitness industry consultant, gym owner, business coach and professional stunt actor with more than a decade of experience in the health and fitness industry. With an education in psychology and criminology, Richard blended life experience as a fitness industry consultant with Spartan Race, gym owner, elite-obstacle racer, ultra-runner and professional stunt actor to create the Risky Kids program.

Richard has a passion for enacting meaningful social change through all avenues of health and wellbeing and believes that obstacles are the way. Some of Richard’s key achievements include:

  • Key consultant/coordinator Spartan Race/Tough Mudder/Extreme Endurance
  • OCR World Championship Finalist –  Team & Solo (2015)
  • OCR World Championship Silver Medallist – Team Endurance (2018)
  • Professional film and television stunt performer for 15 years

Considered one of Australia’s foremost experts in the fields of fitness, wellbeing and behavioural science, Richard is frequently in demand as a guest speaker for relevant government and non-
government bodies and organisations. Speaking engagements centred on the success of the Risky Kids program, philosophy and approach have included:

  • Expert speaker/panellist Sports & Camp; Recreation Victoria and Outdoors Victoria forums
  • Closing expert speaker at the Australian Camps Association National Conference
  • Expert speaker at the National Fitness Expo, FILEX