Childhood obesity is becoming more of a problem every day. Kids don’t exercise enough or at all and there are too many distractions in their lives. Most of them aren’t that healthy to begin with, because their lives revolve around tablets, computers and other gadgets.
If you want your kids to show an interest in sports and make exercise a part of their daily routine, you need to make an effort and try to teach them the value of teamwork and healthy competition.
Let them choose
Even very small children have a preference when it comes to sports. Talk to them about the matter and let them choose what they want to try. It’s fine to have a few suggestions of your own, but don’t push it too hard or the kid might start disliking it on principle.
It might also be a good idea to try a few different activities before you make the final decision. The coach, teammates and the atmosphere during the practice are likely to have a larger impact on a child than the sport itself.
Think about the long-term
Deciding on a sport, especially a team sport, also means that your child will have a long-term commitment that might be a bit overwhelming for someone under 10. It’s important to think about this before you make a choice and to discuss it both with your family and with the coach.
It also happens that some kids want to give up after a couple of practices if they’re having a hard time or if they can’t keep up with the other kids. Don’t pressure them too much but insist that they give it another go – the improvement is usually quick and noticeable.
Buy them sports gear
It’s important to treat the sport your kid has chosen seriously and to give it the same amount of attention friends or school gets. This doesn’t mean it’s equally important, but it does mean that it requires significant effort. By buying sports gear, you’re making the practices a part of daily life for your child, making the whole thing official and giving it meaning. Also, having some soccer goals at home means that you can practice with your kid and make the sport a family activity.
There are a lot of ways to get your child interested in sports. You could also work with them to help them be more competitive and outspoken. However, the one thing you most definitely shouldn’t do is make comparisons between your kid and their friends. This will only sour their relationships and make them view sport as something aggressive.
There’s one more comparison that often comes up and which you should avoid as well – don’t compare your kids with yourself when you were their age. That’s always more about you than your kid.
Having another emotionally and physically draining obligation can be a bit hard on your kids. That’s why you should be on the lookout for signs of burnout syndrome. If you notice that they have stopped talking about sports or if they don’t get excited about competitions the way they used to – it might be time to dial down the pressure of practices. This doesn’t always happen in fact most kids thrive when they find the sport they love, but still, it doesn’t hurt to be careful.
Put a little effort into making your kid fall in love with a sport and they will benefit from it both physically and psychologically. Just remember, the practices should be fun first and foremost.