How to help your child enjoy sports

Team sports can boost kids’ self-esteem, coordination, and general fitness, and help them learn how to work with other kids and adults.

But some kids aren’t natural athletes, and they may tell parents — directly or indirectly — that they just don’t like sports. What then?

Why Some Kids Don’t Like Teams

Not every child has to join a team, and with enough other activities, kids can be fit without them. But try to find out why your child isn’t interested. You might be able to help address deeper concerns or steer your child toward something else.

Tell your child that you’d like to work on a solution together. This might mean making changes and sticking with the team sport or finding a new activity to try.

Here are some reasons why sports might be a turnoff for kids:

Still Developing Basic Skills

Though many sports programs are available for preschoolers, it’s not until about age 6 or 7 that most kids have the physical skills, the attention span, and the ability to grasp the rules needed to play organized sports.

Kids who haven’t had much practice in a specific sport might need time to reliably perform necessary skills such as kicking a soccer ball on the run or hitting a baseball thrown from the pitcher’s mound. Trying and failing, especially in a game situation, might frustrate them or make them nervous.

What you can do: Practice with your child at home. Whether it’s shooting baskets, playing catch, or going for a jog together, you’ll give your child an opportunity to build skills and fitness in a safe environment. Your child can try — and, possibly, fail — new things without the self-consciousness of being around peers. And you’re also getting a good dose of quality together time.

Coach or League Is Too Competitive

A kid who’s already a reluctant athlete might feel extra-nervous when the coach barks out orders or the league focuses heavily on winning.

What you can do: Investigate sports programs before signing your child up for one. Talk with coaches and other parents about the philosophy. Some athletic associations, like the YMCA, have noncompetitive leagues. In some programs, they don’t even keep score.

As kids get older, they can handle more competitive aspects such as keeping score and keeping track of wins and losses for the season. Some kids may be motivated by competitive play, but most aren’t ready for the increased pressure until they’re 11 or 12 years old. Remember that even in more competitive leagues, the atmosphere should remain positive and supportive for all the participants.

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Stage Fright

Kids who aren’t natural athletes or are a little shy might be uncomfortable with the pressure of being on a team. More self-conscious kids also might worry about letting their parents, coaches, or teammates down. This is especially true if a child is still working on basic skills and if the league is very competitive.

What you can do: Keep your expectations realistic — most kids don’t become Olympic medalists or get sports scholarships. Let your child know the goal is to be fit and have fun. If the coach or league doesn’t agree, it’s probably time to look for something new.

Still Shopping for a Sport

Some kids haven’t found the right sport. Maybe a child who doesn’t have the hand-eye coordination for baseball has the drive and the build to be a swimmer, a runner, or a cyclist. The idea of an individual sport also can be more appealing to some kids who like to go it alone.

What you can do: Be open to your child’s interests in other sports or activities. That can be tough if, for instance, you just loved basketball and wanted to continue the legacy. But by exploring other options, you give your child a chance to get invested in something he or she truly enjoys.

Other Barriers

Different kids mature at different rates, so expect a wide range of heights, weights, and athletic abilities among kids of the same age group. A child who’s much bigger or smaller than other kids of the same age — or less coordinated or not as strong — may feel self-conscious and uncomfortable competing with them.

Kids also might be afraid of getting injured or worried that they can’t keep up. Kids who are overweight might be reluctant to participate in a sport, for example, while a child with asthma might feel more comfortable with sports that require short outputs of energy, like baseball, football, gymnastics, golf, and shorter track and field events.

What you can do: Give some honest thought to your child’s strengths, abilities, and temperament, and find an activity that might be a good match. Some kids are afraid of the ball, so they don’t like softball or volleyball but may enjoy an activity like running. If your child is overweight, he or she might lack the endurance to run, but might enjoy a sport like swimming. A child who’s too small for the basketball team may enjoy gymnastics or wrestling.

Remember that some kids will prefer sports that focus on individual performance rather than teamwork. The goal is to prevent your child from feeling frustrated, wanting to quit, and being turned off from sports and physical activity altogether.

Try to address your child’s concerns. By being understanding and providing a supportive environment, you’ll help foster success in whatever activity your child chooses.

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Fitness Outside of Team Sports

Even kids who once said they hated sports might learn to like team sports as their skills improve or they find the right sport or a league. But even if team sports never thrill your child, there’s plenty a kid can do to get the recommended 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day.

Free play can be very important for kids who don’t play a team sport. What’s free play? It’s the activity kids get when they’re left to their own devices, like shooting hoops, riding bikes, playing whiffleball, playing tag, jumping rope, or dancing.

Kids might also enjoy individual sports or other organized activities that can boost fitness, such as:

  • swimming
  • horseback riding
  • dance classes
  • inline skating
  • cycling
  • cheerleading
  • skateboarding
  • hiking
  • golf
  • tennis
  • fencing
  • gymnastics
  • martial arts
  • yoga and other fitness classes
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • running

Supporting Your Kid’s Choices

Even if the going’s tough, work with your child to find something active that he or she likes. Try to remain open-minded. Maybe your child is interested in an activity that is not offered at school. If your daughter wants to try flag football or ice hockey, for example, help her find a local league or talk to school officials about starting up a new team.

You’ll need to be patient if your child has difficulty choosing and sticking to an activity. It often takes several tries before kids find one that feels like the right fit. But when something clicks, you’ll be glad you invested the time and effort. For your child, it’s one big step toward developing active habits that can last a lifetime.

The desire to see young athletes do well is usually what motivates sports parents to get into a pushing groove. No mom or dad enjoys seeing a child sit too long on the bench or play below his or her potential in the game. Watching your child give a half-hearted effort is frustrating. Whether it’s in school, sports, or chores, parents are always looking for answers on how to help their kids “try harder.”

How to help your child enjoy sports

There is no magic pill for motivation, but the first step is to recognize that a lack of motivation is probably related to the fact that your child is either discouraged or is not enjoying the sport.

Once you recognize that a lack of trying is always related to something deeper, you can begin to get to the root of the problem and start pushing your child in positive ways.

You see, not all pushing is bad. In fact, I would say that positive pushing can be very beneficial for your child. The difference between positive pushing and the negative pushing that parents tend to resort to in frustration is huge.

Negative pushing uses tactics like comparison, bribery, shaming and nagging. Positive pushing, or constructive pushing, looks much different:

1. Ask the right question after practices or games. How did practice go? How did you feel about your game tonight? One or two questions show your interest, while too many can feel like you are pressuring your athlete.

2. Offer opportunities for your young athlete to work outside of practice. If your young athlete says no, drop it and bring it up at another time when he or she is ready to work on improving.

3. Be at as many games as you can. It communicates your support and may encourage young athletes to push themselves.

4. Offer praise for hard work. It communicates support without attaching your love to his or her performance.

5. Let your young athlete bask in and enjoy good games, points scored and games won. When hard work pays off, he or she will be motivated to push harder.

6. Don’t let your anxiety push your young athlete. That will motivate him or her to perform just to make you happy. It only teaches them how to appease you. Also, it distracts your young athlete from finding internal motivation.

How to help your child enjoy sports

7. Let your young athlete make his or her own choices. If it’s a poor choice, let them face natural consequences. This is probably one of the most powerful teachers of all. If your young athlete doesn’t get much playing time because he or she chooses to be lazy in practice, then so be it. But if your young athlete works hard and reaps the benefits, it motivates him or her to keep working hard.

8. Ask your young athlete the right questions. What do you really want? What is your goal in this sport? What makes you want to work harder? When he or she talks, listen well. Respect the answers, even if you don’t like them. Allowing your young athlete to have his or her own goals and desires builds confidence, which is a big motivator to do one’s best.

Whatever you do, don’t blame yourself for your child’s lack of motivation. His or her athletic performance does not define you. Your young athlete’s success does not make you a super-parent. His or her mistakes should not make you feel ashamed or embarrassed.

Instead, zoom out. See your child as their own person and strive to understand what he or she really wants and needs. This will help you see what truly motivates your young athlete and may require some parental experimentation. Remember this: Positive pushing is more of an art form, not an exact science.

Catherine Holecko is an experienced freelance writer and editor who specializes in pregnancy, parenting, health and fitness.

Kristin McGee is the full-time working mom of three boys and realizes the value of mindful movement and meditation. She currently teaches yoga and meditation for Peloton.

Blend Images / Kevin Dodge / Getty Images

Being a good sports parent is like being a good school parent. To make sure your kids get the most out of their participation, you need to participate too. Being involved, in a positive way, means you provide encouragement, support, and practical help.

If possible, volunteer and back up the coach’s decisions and lessons, and help create an environment where your kid can succeed. Then you step back and let them do the hard work. In short, you’re a team player no matter the sport.

Show Support

Your child can't play a sport without your active support—that means financial, logistical, and emotional. Having kids involved in youth sports can really tax your family's schedule along with your wallet, so this situation is a tough one.

There's no need to hide the truth from them—that this is hard sometimes—especially if your kids are old enough to understand the trade-offs involved. But it's also important to reassure your child that you support their efforts and are proud of them, even if you don't enjoy waking up at 5 a.m. to drive them to practice.

Being supportive doesn't have to mean you watch every practice, especially those early morning ones! It also doesn't even mean attending every game or meet.

Being there for everything is often impossible, especially if you have more than one child. Knowing that you care and support them is what truly matters to your child.

Make time to watch your child compete whenever you can. And remember, being fully present also means keeping your phone in your pocket or purse.

Providing strong emotional support can even protect your child from burnout if it’s done right. In fact, research shows that kids are more likely to have a positive experience when parents are involved in their sports activities.

The goal is to make sure your child knows you love them no matter what—not pressure them to perform to please you. This concept sounds obvious but isn't always easy to do.

Some kids need you to really spell things out for them: “I’m so proud of you even when you fall. I love to watch you play.” Other kids give and receive love in other ways. You’ll know what works best for your child.

Be Informed and Be Real

When you are knowledgeable about the game your child loves, you can follow the action and provide more meaningful help. You might even enjoy your time in the bleachers more!

Read up on the sport and talk to veteran parents. They can help you with game basics, equipment questions, team and coaching options, and more. It's also important to know the rules of the team, league, gym, and so on. Then make sure your child follows them. There's almost nothing worse than parents who think the rules don't apply to their child.

Good sports parents also are clear-eyed about what their child can do through sports.

Not every youth sports athlete can go pro, win a college scholarship, or be the best on the team. Being positive doesn't have to mean being unrealistic. Expectations that go way overboard can put undue pressure on your kid.

Know that they'll still gain a great deal from their participation. Even if they don't take home a trophy every time or score the most points, they will learn valuable lessons—sometimes more important lessons than winning or being the best could ever teach them.

Provide Helpful Feedback

You'll boost your child's self-esteem and help them master new skills when you can give good advice. The most productive feedback is both detailed and positive. Try statements like:

  • "You really hustled after the ball today."
  • "That was a great pass to Will in the third quarter."
  • "I noticed how you really tried to keep your legs straight just like your coach suggested."

However, sometimes it's best not to offer these comments immediately after a game. Not every player enjoys reviewing their performance right away, especially if they were on the losing side. Yet, it's often helpful for your athlete to have a sounding board so they can discuss events when they're ready. This could mean talking later that evening or in the next few days.

Follow your child’s lead. Listening between the lines may help you identify problems that you could try to help with, such as anxiety, bullying, or even an undiagnosed injury.

When things do go wrong, whether it's bad luck, a bad call, or just plain old bad play, your role is to not only help your child deal with the disappointment—but also learn from it.

Empathy, along with helping your child find and make a positive change, builds resilience. And that's a skill your child can use on and off the playing field, for many years to come.

Be a Role Model

Your young athletes need to keep their bodies in good shape to perform well and reduce the risk of injury. Through words and deeds, you can help them achieve these goals. Serve healthy foods to your family and remind your kids of the importance of good nutrition. You can even provide healthy snacks for the team.

Exercise regularly and talk about how it makes you feel stronger and more energetic. You might even work out together, help them practice drills, or have them teach you some of what they have learned about their chosen sports.

Research indicates that parents' exercise patterns have a significant impact on their children. In fact, physically active parents tend to have physically active children.

You also can be a role model to other parents. You know the crazy sports parents we hear so much about? As a good sports parent, you can help promote sportsmanship from the sidelines and in the stands.

Be respectful of your child. Respect their teammates, coach, opponents, the officials, and the game itself, including its rules and traditions. You can even help lead the conversations that might help us fix youth sports and make it better for our kids.

A Word From Verywell

Being a good sports parent requires discipline. After all, sporting events evoke a lot of strong emotions, and learning to keep a level head in the midst of those emotions is not an easy task. But if you keep your focus on being a good role model and doing what's best for your child and for the team, you will be successful.

Plus, your child is more likely to have a positive and enriching experience playing sports if you focus on being a good sports parent. Just be sure to refrain from applying too much pressure or setting unrealistic expectations, and both you and your child will find the experience rewarding and a great opportunity to build memories.

How to help your child enjoy sports

Whether you didn’t get playing time, were a star, or never much enjoyed them, sports memories are almost inescapable parts of childhood in the United States. In the wake of the pandemic, sports likely look a little different than you’re used to, and that’s okay. Your kids will still find joy in sports when you show them how to (safely) have a good time. Check out these seven important considerations to take into account as a parent of a child playing sports!

Does your child want to play?

Ask this question before doing anything else. Offer your child options, just because they don’t like soccer, doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy an individual sport like tennis. You can also offer other opportunities for dedicated movement, like dance, yoga, and rock climbing.

Plan to be there, When you can

No question, it’s a privilege to be able to attend each of your child’s basketball games start to finish, but that isn’t the reality for most of us. Rather than wishful thinking, be realistic when talking to your child about which games you can attend, and when they might have to carpool. This way you’ll be modeling reliability and follow-through , and setting yourself up for success in meeting their expectations.

“Learn the Trade”

Do your best to learn about the sports your child likes. Learn the rules, sports etiquette, and get familiar with the flow of the game. Not only will you have a good time, but your child will feel supported by your investment in their sport, AND you can model appropriate sportsmanship and interaction.

Find YOUR Parent Teammates

Your child has a built in social support on their team – and as a parent on the sidelines, you do too! Get to know the other parents and see what you have in common. Being able to share a laugh and enjoy your weekends spent watching your kids play sports will make it easy to support your child by showing up and gives you a support system of your own!

Their Experience isn’t Yours

Your child will experience sports differently than you. Winning may or may not be as important to your child as it is to you. They may feel fulfilled from the social interactions, movement, improving a skill, spending time outside, or just being there to support their friends. Recognize that it’s okay for everyone to enjoy sports differently, no matter the score .

Put Anger on the Bench

Research tells us that when parents get angry at their child, coach, referees, teammates, or other parents, your child is less likely to enjoy sports and less likely to feel supported. If any conflicts arise, use them as an opportunity to model appropriate communication and sportsmanship.

Find Wins after Losses (for you & your child)

You will probably deeply empathize with your child if they are upset because of a tough loss, lack of playing time, authoritative coaching styles, or injuries – and that’s an important parenting strength! Sitting with your child through the difficult moments shows them that you love them no matter what happens on or off the field. Your child will learn to develop technical skills from their coach and team, but you can help foster resilience by pointing to larger learning moments, like helping an injured player off the field, being a team player, or the value of communication on the pitch.

Because of the pandemic, your child’s experience with sports will be different than yours. By modeling acceptance of the situation , your child will also embrace the experience and build resilience for all types of life’s challenges!

Reference: These strategies are drawn from a 2015 report on Parenting in youth sport: A position paper on parenting expertise and background on sports is drawn from the podcast Maintenance Phase.

Camilla Knight has received funding from Sport Wales and the International Olympic Committee. She is affiliated with the Welsh Institute of Performance Science and the Child Protection in Sport Unit.

Partners

Swansea University provides funding as a member of The Conversation UK.

How to help your child enjoy sports

In the aftermath of Rio 2016, children all across the world will be turning to their parents, saying that they want to be the next Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, or Usain Bolt. Billions of youngsters already participate in competitive sport, and it is well known that global events like the Olympics encourage many into picking up a new activity.

There are numerous physical, psychological, and social benefits associated with sport participation for children, as well as, for a very small number, being the first step to becoming an elite athlete. Through the provision of “appropriate” support – that is positive, encouraging feedback, as well as the usual financial and time input – parents play a critical role in enabling these outcomes.

It’s really not easy to support a child in competitive sport, and many may struggle to manage their own emotions as well as their child’s. Parents watch their children succeed and fail as they compete. They watch them struggle with skills they completed easily in training and execute tasks they’ve never managed before. They see the smiles of joy and satisfaction, and watch as they fight back tears of disappointment. They look on through half-open eyes as a bigger kid makes a dangerous tackle or a referee misses an important call. And they see it all knowing that, whatever the outcome, they have to think of the “right” thing to say after the competition.

Emotions arise not simply because parents have dreams of their child gaining a multi-million pound contract or standing on an awards podium, but because their child is disappointed and there’s nothing they can do to help. There is the frustration over the weeks, months or even years, of constant rushing from work to get children to training sessions and competitions, and guilt associated with missing time with other children, partners, or friends. Worrying too is common, as parents consider whether encouraging a child to take part in competitive sport is the right thing to do. Then there’s concern over financial commitments, and the fact that this can only escalate with further participation.

Being positive not pushy

So how can parents and carers provide the very best support for their children’s sporting endeavours? How can they make sure that they are not only happy and healthy but encouraged in a positive manner too?

Often, parents are stereotypically earmarked as “pushy”, but one does not need to be this way in order to help a child achieve their sporting potential – and indeed, many parents are not.

Kids need appropriate parental support to initially engage with their choice of sport, and to keep it up long-term. By providing the right types of support – such as positive feedback, even where the child is disappointed in their own performance – parents can help to enhance their children’s love of their sport and motivation to improve their skills, while reducing feelings of pressure and stress. But if parents get it “wrong”, for example criticising an already disappointed youngster, they can instead increase the pressure, stress, and anxiety that children experience – all of which have been associated with dropping out.

Given the influence that parents can have on the quality of children’s sporting experiences – paired with the increasing media reports of “negative” parental behaviours at youth sport competitions – it is not surprising that many organisations and coaches have taken steps to try and improve parental involvement in sport. A quick scan of social media highlights numerous articles, infographics, and signs reminding parents of what they should and should not be doing to support their children’s sporting involvement and, most importantly, how they should be behaving at competitions.

Such signs, leaflets, and articles often present simple messages for parents: remember that you are not being judged by your child’s success; the “athletes” you are watching are just kids, and kids will make mistakes; the focus of sport should be on fun, and winning is not the most important thing; and always respect referees, coaches, other parents, and other children, all of whom are human and are trying their best.

These messages make sense: they align with how children would like to see their parents engaging, and ultimately seem pretty simple for parents to understand and adhere to. But is it really that straightforward?

Competitive culture

It’s very easy to get caught up in the competitiveness of any sport, not least when you have a strong emotional bond with one of the players. Parenting children involved in youth sport is challenging and complicated. Over the last few decades, youth sport has become increasingly professionalised and privatised; children are competing at younger ages, specialising earlier, and parents are often required to commit more time and more money to support their participation. It’s an environment that has become increasingly pressurised and competitions can be hugely emotional.

But despite all this, appreciating the challenges and the complexity of the task ahead can “improve” parental involvement in sport and help ensure that children have the most positive and successful sporting experiences. Parents have to tread a fine line as they support their children and this will be made far easier if those around them – be they coaches, organisations, or even other parents – understand, acknowledge, and help them manage the demands they are facing.

How to help your child enjoy sports

The desire to see your child do well is usually what motivates sports parents to start pushing. No mom or dad enjoys seeing a child sit too long on the bench or play below his or her potential in the game. Watching your child give a half-hearted effort is frustrating. Whether it’s in school, sports, or chores, parents are always looking for answers on how to help their kids “try harder.”

There is no quick fix for motivation, but the first step is to recognize that a lack of motivation is probably related to the fact that your child is either discouraged or is not enjoying the sport. Once you recognize that their lack of trying is related to something deeper, you can begin to get to the root of the problem and start pushing your child in positive ways.

Not all pushing is bad. In fact, I would say that positive pushing can be very beneficial for your child. The difference between positive pushing and the negative pushing that parents tend to resort to in frustration is huge.

Negative pushing uses comparison, bribery, shaming, and nagging. 

Positive pushing or constructive pushing looks much different: Here’s how you can “push” in a positive way:

Ask the right question after practices or games. How did practice go? How did you feel about your game tonight? One or two questions show your interest, while too many can feel like you are pressuring your athlete.

Offer opportunities for your child to work outside of practice. If they say no, bring it up at another time when they are ready to work on improving.

Be at as many games as you can. It communicates your support and may encourage self-pushing. 

Offer praise for hard work. It communicates support without attaching your love to their performance.

Let them enjoy their good games, points scored and games won. When hard work pays off, they will be motivated to push themselves.

Don’t let your anxiety push them. That will motivate them to perform just to make you happy and it only teaches them how to appease you. It distracts them from finding internal motivation.

Let your child make their own choices. If it’s a poor choice, let them face natural consequences. This is probably one of the most powerful teachers of all. If your child doesn’t get much playing time because they choose to be lazy in practice, then so be it. But if your child works hard and reaps the benefits, it motivates them to keep working hard.

Ask your child the right questions. What do you really want? What is your goal in this sport? What makes you want to work harder? And when they talk, be sure you are listening. Respect their answers, even if you don’t like them. Allowing them to have their own goals and desires builds their confidence which is a big motivator for them to do their best as they play.

Whatever you do, don’t blame yourself for your child’s lack of motivation. Their athletic performance does not define you. Their success does not make you a super-parent and their mistakes should not make you feel ashamed or embarrassed.

Instead, zoom out. See your child as their own person and strive to understand what they really want and need. Remember this: Positive pushing is more of an art form, not an exact science.

Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.

FOOTBALL FOR ALL™

USA Football's new model for youth football is designed to make the game safer by reducing contact and by teaching the game based on an athlete's age, the skill they are learning and game type.

Sport is an important part of a Childs' development for many reasons from personality to socialisation. It’s also important for long term health and personal satisfaction, discipline and even stress reduction. Sport shapes who we are as individuals and for these reasons, we encourage everyone to take part in some sort of sport or activity and to find one that they enjoy.
However, we understand that for our children, choosing an extra curricular sport or activity can be difficult. Particularly after a prolonged period of many after school activities being postponed as a result of Covid-19.

But thankfully, with the back to school period we are hoping that after school and extra curricular activities will resume to a normal capacity, broadening the options to the sports and activities that will be available for your child to try until they find the one for them.

Here at Decathlon, we understand the difficulty in deciding on just one sport, so we have spoken with some members of our team and they have each given us a reason why they love and practice their sport. We hope that this gives you and your family some insight and motivation to find your childs’ passion within sport.

Dale – GAA:
“I play GAA, and the reason why I have continued playing this sport throughout the years, is because of the element of community and togetherness that the sport offers me.”

Nicole – Dance:
“I have been a dancer since the age of 3, and I love the freedom of expression it offers me, in a way that words can't. I appreciate being able to train and compete as an individual, as many other elements of my life involve teamwork which gives me a balance.”

David – Football:
“I have played football since I was 4 years old and I love the teamwork and competitive nature of it. For me, the best part about football (and team sports in general) is the lifelong friendships I have made through playing! There is nothing like sharing the victories and defeats with your friends.“

Ann Michelle – Horse Riding:
Horse Riding has been the most rewarding sport I’ve ever experienced. I have an amazing bond with my horse and there is nothing that compares to that. I get to push myself to my limits while also caring for and bonding with my horse.

If you are looking for an ideal sport for your child, there is no right or wrong answer. We would recommend allowing your child to choose. Perhaps trial one or two for 6-8 weeks to allow them to decide if it’s something that they have grown to love, or maybe it’s not the sport for them and that’s perfectly fine too. Simply try again and encourage them to find an activity or sport that they do enjoy and that they can be authentically themselves while doing so.

If you or your family are interested in trying a new sport, or even if you are rekindling a love for a sport you’ve played in the past, check out Decathlon today! We have over 70 different sports under one roof in our Ballymun Flagship, with playgrounds, pitches & courts for you to try before you buy or simply get practicing.

How to help your child enjoy sports

It’s a phrase repeatedly heard in every sport, every season, every year. “I quit!” So what’s a parent to do when these words ring out across the playing field?

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Your child’s decision could be as vital as an umpire’s call in a close game. The determination could make a difference in his or her life.

More than 20 million children register annually for youth sports, according to the National Alliance for Youth Sports. Seventy percent of these children quit by the time they turn 13, and never play again.

Why children quit sports

The top three reasons kids quit? Unrealistic expectations from coaches and parents, it’s not fun to play anymore, and the child’s own belief that he or she doesn’t measure up to other athletes.

This desire to quit, however, often leaves parents wondering if their child will become a quitter and always give up when the going gets tough. “Fortunately, there is little evidence to support any of these fears,” says pediatric psychiatrist Joseph Austerman, DO.

Other reasons for kids wanting to quit, he says, include embarrassment from peers, competing interests and external pressures for time. Sometimes, the child simply doesn’t have the attention span necessary to play the sport. This is especially true for younger kids.

The decision to quit is less significant when a child is younger. As a child gets older, it affects both the players and the parents. At 4 years old, it’s probably OK if your child wants to quit T-ball. But if you have a 12-year-old coach potato, sports can be a great way to get them up, active and interacting with other kids their age.

And research shows that children who play sports tend to stay in school, get better grades and exhibit better behavior. With this in mind, no parent wants to let their child quit so easily.

How to talk to your child about quitting (or not)

The best way to avoid the desire to quit is to prepare children before they join a sport. “Consider with your child what they naturally enjoy doing and what physical strengths they have,” Dr. Austerman says. “Talk about the time commitment and let them know your expectations on following through.”

But if you’re already in a situation where your child wants to quit, your first job is to investigate what’s behind this motivation to quit.

Ask your child what has changed about his or her excitement for a given sport. Inquire as to what specifically stops them from wanting to play.

Once you have a general sense for the reason for wanting to quit, the next step is to engage your child on how best to manage his or her commitment to the sport. Have him or her participate in the problem-solving process. Ask your child to identify the problem and say what they could do to make the experience better.

One more serious thing to pay attention for is when your child is being harassed or humiliated by others, Dr. Austerman says. “All too often this can be the underlying trigger for a child going from loving a sport to wanting to quit.”

Talk to your child’s coach too

It’s also important for parents and coaches to communicate and work together to resolve the issue. If the problem is harassment from other kids, the coach can make a big difference in making sure this stops. If the issue is skills-related, parents and coaches can often work with the child to improve his or her playing skills.

Certified athletic trainer Bob Collins, ATC, says it’s critical for both parents and kids to be realistic about their skill level in a sport.

“Parents and student athletes need to be able to accept the truth about a child’s athletic ability and to remember that playing the sport is about more than being the best,” Collins says. “It’s about working together as a team and participating to the best of your ability.”

Participating in sports can be very positive experience, Dr. Austerman adds. However, it is a natural part of the learning process for children to experiment by trying different activities.

“Understanding your child’s motivations will help you to make the right decision together,” he says. “And remember that quitting a specific activity should not be equated to being a failure.”

Taking up a sport when school starts up is a rite of passage. But you might not be the only one with an opinion on the matter. Whether your child wants to stay active after a busy summer or you want them to meet new friends, we’ve got a few tips to help you find the right sport for your child.

Which sport is right for their age? What are the benefits and which sports are best for certain personalities? Let us tell you how.

Which sport is right for their age?

First, how children learn a sport depends on their age. You can see on a daily basis how fast they pick up new skills. One of the reasons (besides the fact that your child is obviously perfect!) is that everything they learn is new to them. Learning needs to be adapted to their age.

Let us explain with a little help from Karine, a physiotherapist.

Between 3 and 6 years

At this age, the aim is to have your child have fun while being physically active through sport.

Without pressure or competition. From dance to gymnastics, scootering or baby swim classes, the goal is to let them do a physical activity that boosts their imagination, motor skills and spatial awareness.

For toddlers, it’s about focusing on movement and balance. They’re still discovering their own bodies. Sports that require handling an object, like a ball or racket, or spatial notions such as left/right or up/down are still difficult at this age. Judo is great for little ones. It’s a good sport for learning how to balance, being off balance, how to fall. Plus, they can learn how to interact with others as their socialisation skills are still developing.”

Their first sessions should be short and gentle, because they still need to rest as much as they do movement.

The group aspect of games and physical activity will also take some time to get used to.

How to help your child enjoy sports

Between 7 and 10 years

Sport: a chance to learn about rules, build lots of new skills and enjoy the mental benefits!

Sports are a chance to stimulate kids’ curiosity. Learning and practising several sports helps kids improve their motor skills and spatial awareness, not to mention find an activity they truly enjoy.At this age, children have reached their neuro-motor maturity, and can learn more complex skills, spatial concepts and strategy.”

It’s also an opportunity to alternate between individual sports (judo, fencing) and team sports (basketball, football, handball) to develop a variety of skills and ways to play sports.

For a little extra diversity, why not try athletics? Athletics require versatility and team training for the first few years before pinpointing a speciality. Kids can run, jump, throw and learn a wide range of other skills.

It is a sport that requires speed, balance, strength and that will help them learn to push their limits.”

Among team sports, handball is a great sport that teaches many skills.

From 10 years old

Your child’s learning abilities are increasing in a spectacular way.

This is when they begin to perfect their technique, find sports they love and start competing.

Beyond motor skills development, which improves greatly around age 10 to 12, this is a time to discover the competitive side of sport, whether competing against others or themselves.”

This is also a time of major physical and psychological changes, and sport can be a huge ally. Team sports help kids learn to socialise and spend time with others their own age.

Which sport for which personality and the related benefits?

Have a better idea about how your child can learn a new sport based on their age? Great! But age isn’t everything. Their interests, goals, temperament and personality also play a role. Let us explain.

If your child is rather independent, there’s no need to force them to play team sports. Athletics or swimming are examples of well-rounded sports that develop endurance, flexibility and coordination. These sports also let kids be part of a team by participating in relays.

Dancing or gymnastics improve flexibility and coordination, but also give your child a chance to express themselves physically and stimulate their imagination. There’s no need to play rugby if your child is more solitary. 🙂 Horse riding is also a great option.

For children who are not necessarily comfortable around others, animals are a good way to get them to come out of their shell. If you child has trouble concentrating, horse riding can help them focus. With an animal, there is an immediate reaction to every action.”

Choosing a sport for the right reasons

While doing sport from a young age comes with a number of physical and mental benefits, it should not become a burden. Remember these tips to keep your child happy when signing up for sport.

It is important to let your child pick a sport they like. Of course, there are always conditions to take into account (budget, availability, club location etc.), but it is unlikely that your child will be committed to a sport that is forced upon them.

Their interests are not necessarily the same as yours. If you have a daughter who’s into boxing and a son who likes to dance, it’s best to let them be who they are!

If your child does not appear particularly excited by the sport, forcing them to go to football practice twice a week is probably not the best approach. Your child may be more attracted by other types of activities, such as being in nature (walking, hiking, sailing) or thrill-seeking sports (skating, BMX, rock climbing).

If your child isn’t highly active, target sports (billiards, darts) could give them a way to discover the joys of sport while improving their agility, coordination, imagination and tactical approach.

Finally, the available budget and time are often very important considerations to take into account when choosing a sport for your child. In France, children can do sports at school (which saves time) with a licence that costs around €20 a year.

So which sport is your child’s new passion? Team or individual, martial arts or target sports?

Share your kids’ experiences with sport.

MERWEN

DECATHLON team writer

Pitch addict, court enthusiast, pool aficionado and general sports fanatic.

Sports are a part of our culture and touch nearly everyone’s life to some degree. Getting your child involved in sports has many benefits; however, some parents also have some valid concerns about involving their child in sports, like time commitments and the potential for injuries. You know your child, but generally, the benefits of playing sports far outweigh the drawbacks.

Here are the five biggest reasons why you should let your child play sports and never look back.

Sports are Fun!

. and that is – by far – the most important thing. Remember, they are kids and playing with or making new friends while running around is fun. As a bonus, they will unwittingly learn life lessons and team strategies. If you or your child is hesitant, take them to a game and let them see how the game works and the interaction among the players. Soon they will be itching to join the fun!

Promoting an Active Lifestyle

It stands to reason that being on the move helps kids stay in shape and builds athleticism and endurance. Playing sports can also help to reduce body fat, control body weight, help fight depression and anxiety and strengthen bones. Developing an active lifestyle early means that there’s a better chance that kids maintain it in the long run.

Learning Sportsmanship

In sports leagues there are winners and losers, competition is part of the game, but more importantly, kids learn sportsmanship and how to overcome adversity. Learning how to deal with things that don’t go your way, like a missed shot or foul call, help children grow. Being a good sport, both in athletics and life is essential to being a good citizen.

Time-management Skills

There is a time commitment when joining a sport, but that is where kids begin to learn important time-management skills. If your child knows he has a game that evening but cannot play unless his homework is done, he is more likely to get that homework done before the game! Your child starts disciplining themselves and setting priorities without even realizing they are doing it.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Teamwork is an important life skill. It’s also an essential part of team sports. Participation in sports allows kids to make lasting friendships, develop communication skills, feel a sense of community and learn to respect their teammates and coaches.

Even athletes in individual sports learn to work as a team with their coach and make lasting friendships with others in their sport.

Probably since the beginning of sport history there have been parents who were enthusiastic, shouting, supportive, critical, loving, pushing, caring, and demanding, on the sidelines or in the stands. Most of the time, this is crucial to the performance, good or bad, of the child’s athletic endeavor. The following are powerful DO’s and DON’Ts that will assist parents in supporting their child in the most positive and beneficial way. Coaches may be interested in giving this list to the parents of their athletes.

The DO’S

  • Allow your child to be interested and want to play whatever sport he or she chooses. Provide the opportunity of many choices and support his/her choice even if it is not yours. Support your child’s choice to play NO sport when he/she is the most comfortable with that option.
  • Teach your child to respect his/her coach. Do this primarily by showing respect to the coach yourself. It is vital to the child’s progress and performance that he or she listen to and trust the coach’s advice and instructions.
  • Be willing to let your child make his/her own mistakes and learn from them. When your child makes a mistake, ask what they think they could have done differently, what they learned from the experience, and if they would like any feedback (not criticism or blame) from you (such as what you saw, and what you think they might have done differently, and what you think they might have learned)….
  • Be interested and supportive, light and playful, understanding and open-hearted. Be accepting and tolerant of your child’s learning process and her/his physical abilities. Acknowledge and enjoy your child’s participation and successes….even the small ones.
  • Model flexibility of your own opinions. Be willing to be wrong and move off your position. Listen to the other side of the situation and let go of the need to be right or in control.

The DON’Ts

  • Don’t try to relive your youth through your child. Just because you wanted to be, or were, a hero on the football field or in gymnastics does not mean THAT sport will be your child’s choice. Accept that your child may not excel in that or any sport.
  • Don’t blame the equipment, coach, other players, referees or even the weather if your child or the team does not do well or win. Blaming others teaches non-accountability to kids. They do not learn to look at what they could have done differently, or learn from their mistakes if they learn to blame others.
  • Don’t push, push, push….Children who are pushed beyond their capabilities may lose their self-confidence, become resistant and resentful toward their parent, become unsure of themselves and their abilities, and may stop trying. They may also exhibit a disturbance in eating and/or sleeping habits.
  • Don’t expect perfection or tie your ego or image to your child’s performance. Perfectionism is a very hard expectation to live up to. Laying guilt on a child because “their performance made YOU look bad,” is highly destructive. Your child is NOT responsible for your ego or your reputation in the community.

Remembering this simple list may assist parents in remembering that youth sports are to be enjoyed by children as well as parents. Most children play sports because they have fun playing. When sports become work and drudgery, they lose interest and some of the joy in growing up. Remembering to be a little less serious about life helps all of us to enjoy athletic competition.

How to help your child enjoy sports

Nearly half of all sports-related eye injuries occur in children aged 15 and under. Luckily, 9 out of 10 sports-related eye injuries can be prevented with the right protective eyewear. If your child plays sports, discuss protective eyewear with their eye doctor. .

What Is Protective Eyewear?

Protective eyewear is made of ultra-strong polycarbonate, a form of impact-resistant plastic that can withstand a hit without breaking. Polycarbonate glasses also protect the eyes from UV rays.

While protective eyewear is essential even for children with 20/20 vision, most protective eyewear can be customized to fit a child’s prescription. Some children may prefer to wear their regular glasses or contact lenses under safety goggles.

Different types of protective eyewear are required for different sports.

  • For high-risk eye-injury sports like softball or baseball, football, basketball, tennis, soccer, hockey or volleyball, one-piece plastic sports frames with nonprescription or prescription polycarbonate lenses provide protection and clear vision.
  • For lower-risk eye-injury sports like skating or cycling, invest in polycarbonate lenses with a strong eyeglass frame.

The Importance of Sports Protective Eyewear

Eye injuries may involve being struck in the eye, poked or jabbed, or being hit in the eye by a flying object.

Despite these risks, eye protection is often an afterthought, even for athletes who wear gear to protect their head, wrists, knees and even teeth.

Although protective eyewear is worn to protect the eyes of children and adults, it can also help your child enjoy clearer vision. Furthermore, wearing protective eyewear allows them to concentrate on the game instead of worrying about getting injured or losing or breaking their everyday frames or contact lenses.

Protect your child’s eyes from sports-related eye injuries and give them more confidence while playing by contacting Village Eye Centre Sherwood Park today!

At MyOptix Family Eyecare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 812-213-4088 or book an appointment online to see one of our Evansville eye doctors.

How to help your child enjoy sports

Most parents understand the wide-ranging health and fitness benefits associated with encouraging their child to take up a team sport. These may include…

  • Making regular exercise a habit from a young age
  • Developing bone and muscle strength
  • Developing cardiovascular fitness
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Learning the importance of eating right
  • Reducing their risk of illness and disease

But what is less commonly talked about is the immense mental, emotional and social benefits that playing a team sport can offer your child. There is now a growing body of research focusing on these benefits. This research highlights many advantages that your child will enjoy by becoming involved in team sports. It doesn’t even matter what sport your child decides to play, or their skill level. It’s the mental, emotional, social skills, and lessons that they will gain by playing any type of team sport that is important. So, let’s look at some of the benefits of team sports for kids.

Happier Kids

On a purely scientific level, when kids exercise they are happier. When we exercise our bodies release endorphins. These naturally occurring chemicals are scientifically proven to improve our mood, reduce stress, relieve feelings of anxiety and depression, boost self- esteem and help us sleep better. This all leads to happier, positive, more relaxed kids every time they finish training or playing a game. Now what more could you want as a parent?

Learn Important Values

Being a part of a team will teach your kid important values that will guide them through their teenage years and into adulthood.

  • Respect for coaches, teammates, opponents and umpires
  • Discipline by learning to play as a team and follow the rules of the sport
  • Patience by having to work alongside other players even if they don’t get along. Furthermore, understanding that the team comes before their own needs or desires

Build Self Confidence

Learning any new skill is a great way to build self-confidence and doing it as part of a team environment where your success leads to more success for those around you only serves to magnify that self-belief. Team sports help kids to confront setbacks and obstacles without seeing it as a negative reflection of themselves but more as a challenge to be overcome. Professor Margaret Talbot, President of the International Council for Sport Science and Physical Education, once wrote: ‘Sports and other challenging physical activities are distinctively powerful ways of helping young people learn to ‘be themselves’. She suggests that ‘these sorts of activities can teach young people to question limiting presumptions they might have picked up, and come to view themselves and their potential in a new way.

How to help your child enjoy sports

Improve Communication Skills

When playing as part of a team, communication is a crucial skill no matter what sport you’re playing. Important social skills such as, learning when to be quiet and listen, and to speak up for themselves when they have an idea, opinion, problem or solution are invaluable lessons they will learn from a team sport that will benefit your child again and again as they develop. It’s not only verbal communication that improves either. Much of human communication is nonverbal. These types of nonverbal communication such as body language, eye contact and facial expressions form a large part of participating in any team sports.

Time Management

As kids grow older they have an increasing number of duties to manage. This continues to grow as they enter adulthood. Having the responsibility of managing school and family duties as well as being on time for training and game day helps your kid to be better prepared for the increasing time demands they’ll face in the future.

Better Students

Kids that play team sports have been found to perform better in the classroom as well. According to ‘Project Play’ by the Aspen Institute, kids that played team sport scored on average 40% better on school test results than those who played no sports at all. They were also reported to have better behaviour and more respect for teachers in the classroom.

Support System

It’s important for kids to have a good support system around them. Often family is the main place they feel supported, as most schools tend to lack in this department. Sporting teams offer an ideal secondary support system and peer group to lean on when things are a little tough. Going to training and blowing off some steam is also a great alternative to some of the more negative behaviours kids can get up to after a bad day at school.

Making New Friends

There is often no better way to make new friends than to join a local sports team. Your child will make friends from different suburbs, backgrounds and cultures. They’ll learn tolerance and acceptance, and build relationships with kids they would never have meet before. But most of all they feel that they belong, and build a large network of friends from different schools which can be especially helpful when moving from primary to secondary school.

Make Lifelong Memories

The sporting victories and losses we experience, the friendships we develop, and the lessons we learn on the sporting field stay with us forever. Having the chance to be part of a sporting team and enjoying all the physical, mental, emotional and social benefits that comes with it is a gift that every child deserves to experience. If you’re not sure where to get started when looking for a team sports for your child. Australian Sports Camps coaching programs are a great way to sample different sport for a few days each to see what your child enjoys the most.

In a study conducted in 2018, it was projected that over 250 million children all over the globe will become obese. This is the reason why physical activity in children is essential. Exercise is good for kids because it keeps them fit, improves their bodies’ overall health, and helps them avoid long-term complications like heart disease, diabetes, and may even ward off some cancers. Letting kids engage in sports is the best way to encourage them to increase their physical activity.

Benefits of Teaching Children Sports

It’s easy for kids nowadays to be glued to their screens and lead a sedentary lifestyle. However, there are many benefits for children who play sports.

· Increases physical activity, making their body fit and healthy

· Making them learn responsibility and teamwork

· Unleashing their inner creativity and strategy development skills.

· Helps them with making new friends.

How to help your child enjoy sports

Football/Soccer is an easy game to introduce your children to

How to Encourage Children to Play Sports

You can’t instantly force children to like sports, especially when they’re used to facing gadgets and playing online games. As parents, you must encourage them to engage in sports. Here are some ways to increase their interest in playing sports:

1. Let Them Choose Their Sports

Many people think that children do not have much control over sports. They think that they have to do what the adults in the family want. While this is sometimes true, some very popular children’s sports programs allow the children to have a say in playing the game.

For instance, in some youth baseball teams, they can be allowed to have a say in what uniforms they want, what shoes and what equipment they wear, and what kind of playing field they want. They can even pick their players, the team captains, and the position players that are playing the game.

Children’s programs like these are a great way to let children enjoy the excitement of a sport. When they can pick the players and decide on what uniforms and what equipment they will wear, they will be better prepared to face the sport’s challenges in future years.

2. It a Family Event

Sports can be a great way to bring together the whole family in an enjoyable activity. One thing that you will want to make sure that you do is to find a game that is fun for your kids. There is no point in teaching them something that will be boring or monotonous for them to learn. This is also the time to teach your kids about teamwork and sportsmanship. To make the event more fun, let them help design custom clothing or custom softball bags. Letting them help prepare for sports events will bring out their creativity.

3. Start Them young

Exposing young children to sports is critical in encouraging them to engage in these physical activities. However, young children may not have any idea yet what sports they want to play. As parents, you can suggest sports they may find appealing or enjoyable, but make sure you introduce age-appropriate sports to them. Here are some tips you can follow when creating sports options for children depending on their age:

· Sports for toddlers: Kids love to play sports like soccer, basketball, and even softball.

· Sports for younger children: Younger children may also play basketball and baseball. Other sports for young children also include track and field, gymnastics, and even chess.

· Sports for teens: For teens, almost all sports are already appropriate for them. Most teens show interest in group sports, football, basketball, and soccer. You can also teach your children tennis and other individual sports like badminton and swimming.

How to Manage Expectations: This Experience Belongs to your Child

How to help your child enjoy sports
Parents and coaches play such a key role in a child’s development and enjoyment of their sports experience. Children’s’ top reason for playing sports is to have fun. As coaches and parents, we must do our part and prioritize the enjoyment to be had in sports. It’s what children want and need. Parents can help guide their children in sports, but children need to make the choices and set the expectations based on their wants and needs. Regardless of your child’s level of participation in gymnastics, his or her performance will be greatly influenced by expectations–and unwanted expectations can produce unwanted pressure and consistently result in subpar performance.

Expectations are often about outcomes and results, neither of which can be controlled, and this unproductive thinking can make children tense, tight and tentative. Expectations come from so many different sources; the coach that has a “win-at-all-cost” mentality and needs results to justify their existence, the parent who becomes overzealous in their attempts to inspire their child or worse–living vicariously through them, outside noise from fans or people wanting to win, or even from the child who might get caught in the trap of measuring self-worth by external success.

Parents are in a great position to help deflate this performance pressure by helping their children understand that the process of learning, and having fun is the most important thing to focus on. When children embody these types of expectations, taking them into their nervous systems, they relax, become calm, remain focused, and play their best. These are process expectations as opposed to outcome expectations. Here are four ways parents can let go of expectations and help their child enjoy sports more:

  1. Match the commitment level of your child. This experience belongs to your child, first, not you and it’s important to match their level of interest and commitment. Once sports start to become more about the parents and their want for competition, the activity becomes less fun for the actual child involved. Let the children lead the way on their expectations and commitment level.
  2. Be genuinely happy for them. Whether they win or lose, acknowledge your support and happiness watching them compete. The best thing a child wants to hear from their parents is “I love watching you play.”
  3. Provide balance in their lives. Life shouldn’t revolve around their sport only. Make sure there is a balance between their life outside of sports, and they are able to detach their self-worth from their performance results. When you only focus on gymnastics in your conversations and time spent with your child, then they will believe that gymnastics is the only thing you care about, and the only thing they should focus on. Encourage other activities for a mental and physical break, and well-rounded development of your child.
  4. Understand their goals. Ask your child what their goals are in gymnastics, and understand that your child’s goals might be different from yours. Their goals and expectations are more important in their gymnastics experience–learn what they want and care about most, and do your best to support them based on their wants and needs.

Positive Coaching Alliance stresses that if a young gymnast loves the game, then he or she will play longer and harder, which will, in turn, lead to more success. The way parents can inspire this love is by giving their child ownership over the experience, focusing on enjoyment, and making sure those things build their intrinsic motivation to participate in gymnastics. The only way children can truly improve is if they are the ones striving to get better.

How to help your child enjoy sportsby NDFAdmin, 2 nd Apr 2015

The enhancement of physical and mental development of children is certainly the most important contribution of sports for children.

D ue to its vast reach, unparalleled popularity and foundation of positive values, sport is definitely one of the greatest things man has ever created. It’s also a powerful tool that breaks down all the barriers and helps us feel good about ourselves, both physically and mentally. Sport is quite beneficial for children too: by playing sports children develop physical skills, exercise, make new friends, have fun, learn to be a team member, learn about play fair, improve self-esteem, etc.

The enhancement of physical and mental development of children is certainly the most important contribution of sports, but the list of values your child may learn and acquire through sports does not end here. Other positive aspects are numerous, which reveals the true beauty of sport.

How to help your child enjoy sports

When I went to basketball raining for the first time, I wasn’t aware that such experience would serve me for a lifetime. New friends I made on the court, and the positive energy that inspired and motivated us, keep reminding me of the good times I had. Though I stopped practicing after some time, I still recall those memories with a smile. All the players were more than friendly, helping me feel as an equal part of the team. We have developed true team spirit and we spent time together even after the practice. In addition, basketball contributed to my proper physical development and good posture, while some of the tactics and strategies helped me a lot in different aspects of life.

How to help your child enjoy sports

What benefits can come from sports?

Most parents wish to encourage children to play sports to help them feel valued. Every child can be successful at one sport or another. However, it takes time for parents to find the sport suitable for the child. Therefore, they should be patient in selecting the sports, since it is a process that will pay off in the long run.

No other thing in life affords children such opportunity to develop positive character traits and to soak up many quality values as sports does. Here are some benefits that may come from playing sports:

  • Kids’ character and moral principles are formed through fair play. Moreover, children who are actively engaged in sports can be good role models for their peers from school, neighborhood, or even school choir, and inspire them to start playing some sports as well.
  • Playing sports enables them to create friendships they otherwise might not have formed. For example, the friendships professional athletes create on the field remain intact even when they are not playing sports, and often last a lifetime.
  • Sports bring people together from all over the world, regardless of their nationality, religion, culture, or skin color.
  • Teamwork and benefits of social interaction among children are best seen in sports. Kids learn they are part of a team that requires the same effort from all members to succeed, as well as how to win with class, and lose with dignity.
  • They view competitions on and off the field as opportunities to learn from their success and failure. In addition, losing often motivates kids to work even harder for next time.
  • They learn to respect authority, rules, team colleagues and opponents.
  • Sport is an important learning environment for children. Numerous studies have shown that children who play sports perform better at school. It is also within sport that peer status and peer acceptance is established and developed.
  • Sports experiences help building positive self- esteem in children.
  • In addition, participating in sports can be a helpful way of reducing stress and increasing feelings of physical and mental well-being, as well as fighting against juvenile delinquency, conflict and aggressive outbursts. The point is to keep the body in good health in order to be able to keep our mind strong and clear.

When children learn positive life lessons through sports, there is no doubt they will become honest, reliable adults who will try to help others in need at any moment.

How to help your child enjoy sports

We cannot stress enough how important it is to NOT impose unrealistic expectations and hard achievable goals on children from the start. Kids should participate in sports not for instant success and results, but rather to develop their physical and intellectual skills. Otherwise, forcing the child to play some sports may create a counter-effect and as a result make them develop an aversion to sports in general.

Instead, let your child should first get used to sports, accept it and get to like it so it can become part of his and her everyday life. Results, achievements, medals and awards may come later on, though they require a lot of hard work, discipline and sacrifice.

Also, it is important to allow your child to discover and explore other interesting things too besides sports so they don’t feel suffocated at your constant nagging how sports is good for them. Let them see the values of sports for themselves.

How to help your child enjoy sports

Know that the essence of sports is to unite all the people worldwide, regardless of their social background, their financial status and the country they come from. So if you think that you need money in order to play sports, you are wrong!

Sport is not a privilege of wealthy people. In less rich parts of the world you can see children running for a handmade ball on dusty streets, or racing on the road from home to school and back. For them too, sport is an inexhaustible source of inspiration and happiness.

As long as your child is involved in sports activities, he is in the world where he tries to be as best as he can be. All his senses, the locomotor system and intellectual capacities are engaged. By playing sports your child will not only become stronger physically but mentally too. Best of all, he will learn how to overcome any obstacles and challenges that will come his way. Isn’t that what we all need?

How to help your child enjoy sports

The world celebrates April 6 as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. Be physically active and encourage your child to play sports.

Only six out of 10 children aged between five and 14 years participate in sport outside of school, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The Australian Health Survey conducted in April 2012 found that 25 per cent of Australian children and teenagers, aged five to 17 years, are overweight or obese, indicating that we need to foster a more sports-minded culture that encourages children to be physically active.

People who are active dramatically reduce their risk of many diseases, including heart disease and osteoporosis. Regular exercise is also known to reduce the risk of emotional problems such as anxiety and depression. Habits are established early in life and evidence suggests that physically active children are more likely to mature into physically active adults.

Benefits of sport for children

  • reduced risk of obesity
  • increased cardiovascular fitness
  • healthy growth of bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons
  • improved coordination and balance
  • a greater ability to physically relax and, therefore, avoid the complications of chronic muscular tension (such as headache or back ache)
  • improved sleep
  • mental health benefits, such as greater confidence
  • improved social skills
  • improved personal skills, including cooperation and leadership.

Sedentary pursuits and children

  • homework
  • computer games
  • internet use
  • television.
  • ‘Children and young people should participate in at least 60 minutes (and up to several hours) of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity every day.’
  • ‘Children and young people should not spend more than two hours a day using electronic media for entertainment (such as computer games, internet, TV), particularly during daylight hours.’

According to the Bureau of Statistics, over the 12 months prior to April 2012 in Australia, 1.7 million or 60 per cent of children aged 5 to 14 years participated in at least one sport outside of school hours that had been organised by a school, club or association.

Participation amongst boys (949,000) exceeded that of girls (727,000), both overall and within each age group category. Children aged 9 to 11 years were most likely to participate in sport (66 per cent).

The three most popular organised sports for boys in 2011 to 2012 were soccer (22 per cent of total), swimming and Australian rules football. For girls, swimming/diving (19 per cent of total) and netball were predominant.

Should You Encourage your Non-Athletic Child to Play Sports? Before my husband started coaching, I was under the impression that, for the most part, kids who participated in youth sports were athletic.

How to help your child enjoy sports

Not only did they enjoy competitive sports, but they had some innate talent that my husband would have the opportunity to help develop. I was excited to see how he would be able to help them see the greatness within themselves.

Should You Encourage your Non-Athletic Child to Play Sports?

I asked my husband to talk about coaching a non-athletic child and to give his advice on if non-athletic children should be encouraged to play sports (he is a football coach and wrestling coach).

Advice for Non-Athletic Kids Parents from Coach

After our first practice, I remember sitting in my car feeling a bit overwhelmed. Not only were there a lot of kids on the team who really didn’t want to play sports, but the majority of them weren’t overly athletic. In fact, some of them had actually come up to me and said they didn’t like sports.

As a coach, finding ways to help the kids on my team who aren’t athletic enjoy playing is always a great challenge. I make it my personal mission to figure out something, at least one tiny thing, that they’ll enjoy and help them do that every practice and game.

As a parent, I understand the conflict between wanting to encourage team sports while also respecting a child’s desire not to get involved in competitive sports. The struggle is, as they say, very real.

The good news is that even non-athletic kids can have a blast being physically active. The key is to find out what gets them excited. Here’s how I help the non-athletic kids on my teams.

How to Help a Non-Athletic Child on a Sports Team

1. What Do You Like?

I start each season off by asking the kids on my team what they like to do. I encourage them to think beyond the scope of sports at first and then we narrow it down. Some kids say they don’t like anything besides running. Others say they love throwing the ball but hate running.

There’s no right or wrong answer – even if they say they don’t like anything about the sport because they don’t like running or throwing.

The trick is to get them involved by figuring out what they do like to do. Have them try out different positions on the team to see if any of them are better than others. It may take all season to find the perfect fit, but it doesn’t matter, because you’re showing them that you’re invested in them and that their strengths are valuable. That positive reinforcement may be the highlight of their week.

2. Try Something Different Even if it Isn’t Traditional Sports

I once had a parent frustrated because his son seemed apathetic about playing football. He wasn’t a very athletic kid and, when I asked him, he admitted that he was only playing, because his parents had made him.

However, when I asked what kind of physical activity he did like, he spent 15 minutes telling me about how he loved hiking with his dad. I mentioned to his dad how much he loved hiking with him and how much more excited he was about that than he was football.

I think dad got the picture… because they started going on more hikes and the boy eventually quit football. I always tell parents that story at the beginning of the season, because I want to encourage them to look at kids sports as just one way they can help their kids be active. If your child isn’t into a particular sport, try something else! Just because you like the sport doesn’t mean that your child will.

3. Maybe You Just Need Practice

While some people seem to be born as athletes, the majority of us have to work at it. Some have to work harder than others, but if there’s pleasure in pursuing the sport, it’s worth the effort. There have been many children come through my teams who, while not natural athletes, loved the idea of playing.

If your child loves the sport he’s playing but isn’t naturally athletic, the best thing to do is practice. Practice looks different depending on your child’s age, but for young kids, it should be fun.

Practicing can be playing a game of catch in the backyard, dashes from one side of the field to the other, and a lot of laughter are a great way to start.

Practice doesn’t have to make perfect, but it will make progress.

Helping your non-athletic child succeed in sports means giving up pre-conceived notions and expectations. Be willing to adjust your dreams for your child and replace them with your child’s dreams for himself. At the end of the day, if your child isn’t happy playing a sport, it’s simply not worth pushing him to do so.

Active Kids Activities Even if You Are Not Athletic from Kids Activities Blog

  • Oh so many games for kids that you can play inside.
  • Check out our big list of winter activities for kids that are all active and indoors.
  • We have a really fun list of active things you can do with craft sticks. . can be a lot of fun.
  • Theses fall activities for kids are full of fun.
  • All these fun things to do are inspired by summer camp activities. – there are over 50 to choose from!
  • Let’s build an indoor fort! full of active ideas.
  • Let’s go on an outdoor scavenger hunt! are fun and easy to do right now!
  • These family games for kids will have everyone playing outside this summer.

Please share your advice and experience dealing with sports and a no-athletic child in the comments below.

Becky shares tips about raising a family on YourModernFamily.com. She was a teacher turned mom to four young kids & play therapist. Becky is the author of 8 books, including the best selling Potty Train in a Weekend

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How to help your child enjoy sports

Welcome to Kids Activities! My name is Holly Homer & I am the Dallas mom of three boys…

How to help your child enjoy sports

There’s no argument that kids can gain lifelong physical and emotional benefits from youth sports. However, supporting an active lifestyle comes with risk. Every year, more than 2.6 million children age 19 and under visit emergency rooms for treatment of sports and recreation-related injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

No matter how your child gets hurt, pediatric injuries can require unique types of treatment and recovery. Pediatric injury specialist Leah Brown, MD, and the staff of Urgently Ortho in Scottsdale, Arizona, have the knowledge and experience necessary to treat your child’s injuries effectively. Their expertise ensures that your child receives the professional care necessary to make them happy and healthy.

As pediatric injury specialists, the Urgently Ortho staff works to educate parents about preventing youth injuries. Here are a few tips for how you can reduce your child’s risk of getting hurt while having fun.

Check for sports readiness

Before your child hits the field, make sure they’re physically able to handle the demands of the activity they choose by getting a physical. This important step can help determine whether your child is ready to participate in sports. It can also screen for undiagnosed heart conditions and asthma. Since different sports require different types of stamina, strength, and abilities, make sure to mention your child’s plans during the examination.

Wear protective equipment

You can’t underestimate the importance of wearing the right protective equipment for a specific activity, whether or not it’s an organized sport. Kids can get hurt on backyard trampolines, bicycles, and scooters as easily as they can playing football or soccer.

When selecting protective equipment, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Research the type of equipment appropriate for a specific activity
  • Make sure protective equipment fits properly
  • Avoid second-hand items since wear and tear can reduce protection
  • Teach your child how to wear and adjust the equipment
  • Don’t forget about mouthguards, especially if your child has braces
  • Emphasize using safety equipment all the time, even during practices

Avoid sport specialization

Concentrating on just one sport increases your child’s risk of experiencing overuse injuries , which account for up to 50% of athletic injuries. Ultimately, these injuries can result in longer recovery times and endanger your child’s future participation in an activity they enjoy.

Diversification allows your child to test their different skills and work new parts of their body, which can benefit their abilities across all sports. They’ll also avoid the risk of social isolation, emotional stress, and eventual burnout that can result from concentrating on one activity exclusively, says the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Watch for signs of concussion

Concussions occur when your child bangs their head or they experience an injury that jolts their head back and forth. Most school and organized sports leagues have criteria for testing athletes who experience a head injury. However, your child can also get a concussion from a fight, a bicycle fall, or a car accident.

It’s important to make sure your child gets a medical examination if they suffer any type of head injury. Concussion symptoms include headache, blurred vision, slurred speech, and memory problems. These can occur right away or days after an incident and may indicate a serious injury. If your child’s head injury includes seizures, passing out, vomiting, and/or a severe headache that worsens, you should take them to an emergency room immediately.

Don’t encourage playing through pain

While we’ve all cheered as a professional athlete gives their last push to cross the finish line or score a goal despite being injured, it’s not a strategy that benefits young athletes. Pediatric fractures that heal without medical attention can alter the growth and development of a joint. The results can include permanent damage and future diseases such as osteoarthritis.

This may also cause young athletes to hide their pain, even when it could be serious, which is especially concerning when it may not be visible to coaches or parents until the symptoms become severe.

Find out more about protecting your child from getting hurt when playing sports or other activities. Schedule an appointment at Urgently Ortho online or call our office to arrange a consultation.

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