Everyone needs a balanced diet and exercise as part of their healthy lifestyle, including children. Sports offer a way to keep your child physically active while teaching him or her important values like discipline, commitment, and cooperation.
Because of the benefits, many parents want to foster a love for sports in their children. Unfortunately, not all of them understand how to do it properly without pushing their children away or stressing them out unnecessarily.
Kids have a natural love for active fun and it is quite easy to spark their interest in sports. From there, all it takes is continued encouragement and unending support from parents to make them see the positive impact it has on their own lives.
To get you started, here are six steps to ease your child into sports:
Start with the Basics
No matter what sport your child chooses, it is important that you start them off with basic physical activities. Getting them to play outside for an hour a day is a great way to get started.
You can start off by arranging activities your family can do together, but it is best to let your child participate in decisions when possible. Climbing, riding a bicycle, running around, and even tumbling are all good ways to give your child enough exercise. It’s not necessary to have structure or rules, just let your child explore different the ways their body can move.
Parents can mix up the activities and shouldn’t be afraid to have him or her try things that carry a little risk. Keep watch as they roll around and climb
While doing these activities, observe and give thoughts to which type of sports they may eventually be inclined to join. This will give you some ideas on how you can support them when it is time to join a club.
Try Teaching a Sport You Like
You may have experience in a particular sport from childhood or back in uni. With these fond memories, if your little one hasn’t decided on his or her own sport, you can try introducing them to one that you enjoy most. It’s a great way to share excitement that can drive their passion for participation. If you choose this path, pay close attention and don’t project your own expectations or talents onto them. While he or she may have the same knack for tennis that you had, it doesn’t automatically mean they also love playing. Look for signs of weariness or frustration that might indicate that your favourite sport is not their favourite too.
Don’t force anything and introduce as many types of sports as you can to see which one they have a natural inclination for.
Learn a Sport Together
If your child has decided on a specific sport, it can be a bonding experience if you learn it together. Children tend to associate fun with people they trust and care about. This means that, as their mother or father, you can motivate your child to learn a sport if you do so alongside them.
Children establish the idea of normalcy with their parents. When you engage in athletic exercises together, you teach your child that engaging in sports is not only normal but can also serve as a family thing.
Keep in mind that children are like sponges. They learn their skills, behaviour, and their core understanding of life from the people closest to them – their parents. Modelling positive fitness habits is known to have a big impact on children as they grow older.
Let Her Grow Fond of it at Her Own Pace
As mentioned earlier, forcing your child to love a sport is counterproductive, if not impossible. In fact, it is strongly recommended that you allow them to establish a fondness for the sport at their own pace.
Allow your little one to develop talent at their own rate as well. He or she may be faster or slower than other kids of the same age. There is no set definition of normal when it comes to sports talent because individual children have individual strengths and weaknesses. Don’t be too ambitious in your expectations, and help them set goals they are likely to achieve based on their own personality and skill.
Also, remember that your primary role is not as a coach but as a parent who supports their child every step of the way. Don’t miss a practice. Root for them during competitions and be there for them for both victory and defeat.
Retain the Fun
Sports become a chore when the fun is sucked out of them. To prevent this from happening, make sure you keep the sport enjoyable.
Most children like watching their parents enjoy the sport they play. Instead of putting too much pressure on her to do well in the sport, join the fun.
Maintain a light atmosphere when engaging in friendly competition with your little one. Use your sense of humour to lighten the mood and don’t put pressure on her to compare herself to others in hopes of being “the best”.
Pick the Right Coach
The best sports coaches are found when their personality and coaching technique match the needs of the child. When choosing a coach for your little one, make sure to choose one who can make training fun. Teaching a sport can be done using different techniques, so make sure the person or academy you choose focuses on safety and enjoyment, and that the coach has theoretical knowledge as well as experience in their sport.
Reach out to other parents for recommendations and think about the strengths and weakness of your child as a person to help you find a match. Gathering intel from past clients will also let you know whether a private coach can help your child build and retain her love for sports.
A Final Word
Sports have countless benefits for children. Encouraging them to participate in sports may sometimes be tough but never impossible. Make sure you get your child into sports the right way by following the tips mentioned in this article and don’t hesitate to ask others for advice.
Possessing more than two decades of experience in the leisure and hospitality industry, Tony Kouris joined Zayed Sports City as General Manager in January 2018. With extensive career experience, a value on interpersonal relationships, and strong negotiating experience, he is positioned to support Zayed Sports City’s strategic growth and continue to innovate the site as an internationally recognised sport and entertainment destination.