Most parents would love to see their children engaged in sports. Karate, soccer, gymnastics, tennis and swimming are all possibilities. Perennial favorites like football, baseball and softball are also proven winners. The opportunities to get involved in athletics may be endless, but what about children who don’t seem interested? Are there ways to encourage them to try something new and healthy?
Fortunately, getting kids involved in athletics can be as simple as asking what interests them. Maybe they’ve heard about their cousin’s soccer games via social media and think that playing soccer sounds fun. Perhaps another child recently saw a martial arts movie and is considering taking up tae kwon do. Children sometimes do not mention such interests because they think they may not be permitted to participate or are simply a little reserved and shy. Asking children what activities they might like to try is a wonderful way to open up a dialogue.
Parents can also encourage a child’s interest in athletics by being athletic themselves. Participation in footraces and adult league teams may spark a child’s interest. Young children in particular are often motivated to run like daddy or play soccer like mommy after attending an athletic event. While such an interest may not develop into a lasting passion, it nonetheless gives kids a chance to learn a new skill and develop considerable self confidence.
The description of these benefits and others can also be a great way to provide motivation. Point out to kids that playing on a team is a great way to make new friends and strengthen relationships with current ones. Participation can also foster good work ethic and an appreciation for teamwork. It also doesn’t hurt to point out that sports are a great source of exercise and additionally provide an excellent outlet for pent up energy.
Children often feel encouragement simply through the interest of their parents. Even when children choose activities with which the parents cannot identify, it’s still important to support their exploration of it. It’s tempting for parents to put their children into activities that the parents like or with which they are familiar. This is a plan that frequently backfires, resulting in resentment, disappointment and anger. These parents find it difficult to understand why their children don’t share their passion for football or another sport. The answer is easy. Their children are individuals and need to be able to develop their own interests. Parents can support this by learning about the sport themselves. Join children on the Internet to read articles and watch videos related to the sport. With a little luck, parents and children may find that they are developing a mutual interest.
Many studies have demonstrated that active children tend to perform better in school. They also enjoy better personal relationships and have greater self esteem. With so many benefits within reach, it makes sense for parents to encourage their children to participate in sports from an early age.