When you love sports, most of the time you’ll want your kids to get involved with sports too. For a lot of kids, this will come naturally. They’ll love to run around and play with other children their own age. However, a lot of teenagers and adults also have negative memory of athletic experiences as a kid, which is something we want to help them avoid. The key is to promote a healthy love of sports and physical activity, rather than something that will make them feel bad about themselves. Here are a few tips on how you can develop and encourage a love for sports in your children – it goes far beyond the decision to buy football baby clothes and sign them up for T-ball!
1. Let Them Choose Their Sport
It’s tempting to push your child into the sport you loved when you were their age. That can not only keep them from pursuing a sport they might actually enjoy, but it can also create the unpleasant sense that they need to “measure up” to you as an athlete. You can give them suggestions, you can talk to them about how much you love one sport or another, but in the end, if they’d rather take tae kwon do classes than join the baseball team, respect that choice and support them in whatever they choose.
2. Keep Focus Away From Competition
Nothing kills a potential love of physical activity faster than feeling like a loser. While some children thrive on competition, it’s far healthier to encourage athletics for the pure fun of it. Although you can’t always control the atmosphere in a team sports environment, you can talk about sports with your child in a way that shifts the emphasis away from “winning” and “losing” and onto the concept of doing your best and having fun. That way your child can enjoy their favorite sport without worrying they’ll disappoint you if they lose.
3. Establish Realistic Goals
Goal-setting and goal-achieving are some great aspects of sports, but make sure these goals are something your child thinks they can actually achieve. Some kids are naturally more athletically talented than others, and expecting the less gifted or skilled to meet those exact same standards is going to make them feel like they can’t make any progress at all. Work to help them improve themselves little by little, with lots of positive reinforcement.
photo via: odenvilleelementary.org
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