9 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Take Up a Sport
In John Wooden’s (Legendary UCLA Basketball Coach) words, “Sports do not build character. They reveal it.”
In the modern cyber age, more and more children are staying indoors glued to the computer. This can be very unhealthy as they do not get any exercise for all their pent up energy. Encouraging your child to play sports is important for his/her healthy development and learning. Even for a small baby, mmit is essential to have fresh air and play time out in the yard. Sports can help children to become more communicative, gain confidence and learn new skills. It is an exercise not only for their physical self but also helps them develop socially, emotionally and mentally. Here are 10 ways in which you can encourage your child to play sports of his/her choice.
1. Teach your children the benefits of sports
When children run around and play about, they are releasing feel-good chemicals from the brain. Such healthy exercise reduces their stress levels and helps in their physical growth. When you explain that sports will improve their cardiovascular muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments and will promote good sleep, children will be encouraged to give sports a try. However rather than focusing on the health benefits of sports, instill in them the feeling of jubilance which will drive them to play more often.
2. Show them the way by participating
The best example for your kids to take up sports is by taking an interest in it yourself. Make time in the evening or during holidays to round up your children and play football or softball. Teach them the rules and when they play right than give them due praise. This participation and lead on your part will keep them interested. Focus more on action rather than on lectures.
3. Make game times fun
First of all just play the games that keep your children interested. Gradually you can start teaching them the rules of the game but do not be too rigid about it. Forcing to play by rules can make the kids loose interest in the same. Let them have fun while they play and make mistakes. When they are just having fun they will start appreciating the game and would like to learn the proper rules.
4. All round activities besides study
Sitting down to discuss the child’s lessons at school and asking about their extra-curricular activities is important. Your interest not only in their studies but in their sports will lift the pressure from children. This will give them the green signal that you approve of their choice in sports. Your support for their activity will make them view sports as another legitimate and fulfilling activity apart from books and without pressure, they will perform better in both sports as well as studies.
5. Be patient with them
When your children accidentally break a racquet or is far behind in her swimming class please do not yell at them. Sit down with them and discuss if they have any problems or teach them how to hold the racquet in the correct way. You see, breaking a child’s trust will be more harmful than having to buy new sports equipment. Encourage your child to enjoy the chosen sport rather than pressurizing them to excel. Always be there to watch their sports events and make sure to cheer for them. Do not berate them if they lose out in the competition.
6. Let them test the waters
If your child suddenly wants to switch from one sport to another kind then let them go ahead. They are only trying to experiment and there is nothing wrong in that. It is not a sign of irresponsibility as they are trying to figure out which would be most acceptable to them. Go along with the flow and be as adaptive as possible without lecturing them about the switch. In case they decide to make the switch, give them enough space to grow in that sport and encourage them in the same.
7. Let them decide
Never try to impose upon a child the sport that you like. Let them make the choice of whether they want to take up football, tennis or swimming. By giving them the liberty to choose the sport of their choice they will look upon it with much enthusiasm rather than as a chore. You can then take them along to buy the specific gears for their chosen sport and they will appreciate you and the sport more. Give them the required time to experiment with the sport.
8. Go all the way to keep the consistency
Sometimes children drop out of sports for transportation reasons as the sports ground may be way out. It could also be due to timing clash with other activities which they are involved in. Whatever may be the reasons, try to make some flexible adjustments and arrange for car pooling for the children to reach their sports center. You can even look around for another center which may be nearer to your locality.
9. Social Acceptance.
Being good in sports is now becoming a social asset. Let your kids understand the value of peer status and peer acceptance and they will indulge in sports themselves. Do not, however, pressure them about the same. Help them develop good relations with all players and play sports not with an idea of peer pressure in mind but with one of improving and enhancing communicative skills; also social skills. In addition to this, give your child the window to quit if he feels stressed or dreads pressure or is unable to balance studies with sports.
According to Sports psychologist Dr. Glyn Roberts of the University of Illinois, “Sport can affect a child’s development of self-esteem and self-worth.” Active children are far less likely to suffer from high obesity, blood pressure, cancer of the colon, diabetes, and coronary heart disease later in their lives. It also helps improve a child’s skill at memorization, arithmetic, and reading. Encourage the children and keeping up the consistency, you will find that they will channelize their energies in a positive and constructive manner.