There are more and more children with weight issues and back pain, which means they should definitely exercise more. But, how do you get your child to love sports and start practicing? Here are the best ways you can encourage sports and maybe even turn your little ones into aspiring athletes.
Concentrate on the basics first
Don’t start too young. Most toddlers aren’t ready to join a team when they are still struggling with fundamentals such as running and jumping. If your child starts focusing on batting or throwing before learning how to balance properly, they will have a hard time advancing in the sport and might even risk a serious injury. So, give your kid time to master the basics first. This way, when they actually join a team, they will be completely ready to face the challenges every practice brings.
Take it easy
Some parents take sports too seriously too early. Some insist their kid practices one sport every day from a young age, while others enroll their child in four sports at once. Both approaches are wrong. Too much monotony will bore your kid and too much variety will make it hard for them to concentrate. Young kids should play two or three sports during a year. This way, they won’t get bored and they will acquire different skills. When they get older, they can decide to focus on one sport only, or stay the course and practice different things. However, if they make the decision themselves, they are more likely to stick to it.
It’s normal for kids to compare themselves to their teammates and opponents, but sometimes that can have negative effects on their motivation. Kids who compete with older children who are taller, heavier, stronger and more experienced often think that they aren’t as good. So, you must remind your kid to focus only on their own performance and not on other kids. You can encourage them to keep track of their scores and times, so they can see their progress from day to day. Teaching kids to handle defeat and errors is also very important if you want your child to love sports. Tell them that no one’s perfect, that even the best athletes make mistakes, and praise them for doing their best.
Let them choose
Your kid needs to try out different things in order to find something they truly like. Let them try out a couple of sports and then make a decision. Get some soccer goals for your yard and see how they do, take them to the pool for a swim, or watch different sports on TV and see what holds their attention the most. Ask your child what they would like to try and what team to join. There’s a possibility you’ll be quite surprised by their choice. You might assume they want to join the same team as their friends, but that’s not always the case.
It’s okay to stop
Kids sometimes leave sports, and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean they’re quitting, oftentimes they are just taking responsibility for their own future and creating priorities. If that happens, see if they can wait until the end of the season in order not to leave their teammates hanging. However, you should ask your kid what they intend to do instead. Make sure they find an appropriate replacement for the sport they chose to leave.
Sports should always be something that makes your kids happy and not stressed and under pressure. So, as soon as you notice that your kid is avoiding practice and having health issues before games, talk to them and be there to give them support. However, sports are a wonderful thing that brings many health and social benefits and should certainly be encouraged.