Getting kids to love sports is more of a challenge than you think as they get older and the fun-first emphasis starts to dwindle. Keeping them engaged is all about knowing when to encourage and when to lay off.
In the following article, we’re going to look at six things you, as a parent or adult, can do to encourage their continued participation. Not because they have to, but because they want to. Let’s begin!
Sporty kids usually start with sporty parents. That doesn’t mean you have to be an ex-professional ballplayer. It just means you need to sell your love of the game over your abilities.
The way to do this is to participate in it with them. Watch it on television. Play catch in the yard.
When your child does get started on a sport, go to all their games. Cheer them on, and avoid being overly critical.
2. Watch Burnout
A love for sports can quickly fall by the wayside if your child is spending too much time hustling and not enough time enjoying. Watch their schedule to keep it from getting overstocked. If burnout hits, it can negatively affect their love for everything in which they are involved.
3. Encourage Various Sporting Endeavors
Make sure your child stays upbeat if he or she finds they don’t take to a particular sport. Educate them on all the different types, and try to get them involved with a group, club, or team.
If they aren’t that great at it but enjoy it, let them continue until they know when to quit. If they don’t like a sport you wish they did, stop trying to force the issue. You’ll only drive them further away.
4. Allow for Downtime
A child’s love for Sport will come crashing down if they only view it as hard work. You want to encourage your kids to take time away from practice and the repetition it involves to pursue other interests or just crash out on the couch for a few hours and be lazy.
Let them recharge their batteries. It will keep them in the game, so to speak.
5. Celebrate Efforts Over Results
Want to ruin sports for an athletic kid? Just push them to treat sports as a job and obligation instead of a pastime. Experts agree that this tendency of adults to take things too seriously is probably the number one thing driving many away from youth sports.
Avoid the trap of pushing your kids too hard by commenting on their efforts instead of their results. They do not have to win all the time or do everything right. They simply must give it their best shot.
6. Follow a Favorite Team
One final thing you can do to encourage your child’s love of sports is to try raising sports fans. This is easy if you have a professional sports team in your city.
If you don’t, you might consider pulling for a team that’s closer to you regionally or one that has a long-embedded tie to you, like maybe they were the favorite team of a dearly departed family member. Once you’ve picked a team, invest in them.
Take your child to games. Watch them on television. Order an embroidered patch or pennant or piece of clothing that shows support.
Doing such things will give your children a deep sense of pride and tradition in the team. That can be the impetus for their love of sports as a whole.
Kids Love Sports When Adults Let Them
It’s easy to love sports when that’s what you, as a parent, are teaching them to do. That doesn’t happen through heavy-handed pressure. For additional parenting tips, check out more of our blog posts at The Mother Huddle.