Sports are very important for kids. Practicing sports provide them with a healthy outlet for all of their pent-up energy. Other than the obvious physical health benefits, sports teach them about teamwork and cooperation and provide them with a sense of accomplishment. Almost every kid likes playing a sport of some kind, and to them, it is more about fun than competition. However, the challenge comes when they struggle with remaining consistent in their practice. As a parent, you know how stubborn children can be, however, it is your job to help them understand how great sports will be for them if they commit to it.
If you are in a similar situation and are having trouble encouraging your kids to stay active, here are eight ways you can nurture their love of sports.
1.Let Them Choose the Sport
Just like adults, kids are more likely to stick to a sport if they enjoy playing it. Do not try to steer your little one towards a sport just because you believe they are really good at it. Even if it were true, they will probably drop it at some point if it is not what they prefer. Be as neutral as you can when your son or daughter expresses an interest in a certain sport and let them try it before they can decide whether they like it or not.
2.Take Their Interest Seriously
This means that if your kid decides that they are interested in basketball and would like to practice it, take their interest seriously and get them all the essential gear. Ask other parents and choose a good source or brand where you can find affordable and quality basketballs, hoops, etc. Find your little one a coach, set up a hoop in your backyard if you can, and practice with them whenever possible. Taking the time to learn more about their sport of choice will show them how supportive you are which, in turn, will nurture their love for the game even more.
3.Take Them to Sports Events
Being around sports people and stadiums at a young age will help your child develop a sense of familiarity and a strong connection with that world. This way, they will be more likely to want to belong to this world that they can relate to from their earlier memories as they grow up.
4.Lead by Example
This is very important when trying to encourage your little ones’ love of sports. Nothing you do or say can be convincing if you are not practicing what you are preaching. If you yourself are not into sports and are only an avid fan, it will be very hard to make them feel otherwise. The best way is to influence them through your actions. Take them with you to the gym or to corporate sports events where you are a regular team player on your company’s team.
5.Be Their Number One Fan
Make time in your busy schedule and make sure you always attend their games. Be there front and center cheering them on and showing your full support. This way, your child will be mentally conditioned that sports make you proud and will subconsciously love the sport they are playing even more.
6.Do Not Pressure Them into Being Pros
The worst thing you can do is get way too excited and start mapping out your kid’s football career when they are still young. Your encouragement and support are important; however, your child will always have a fear of disappointing you. So, if they decide that they want to skip the trials at school, do not make a big deal out of it, and let them go at their own pace.
7.Make Practice Time a Fun Time
When you are driving them to practice, try to make it a fun ritual by listening to their favorite music along the way or stopping for ice cream on the way back after practice. It is not essentially bribing but rather an attempt for them to associate sports practice with fun times that you get to enjoy together.
8.Read Them Books About Inspiring Sports People
You can find many children’s books that tell stories about inspiring sports figures, pick the ones that discuss the sport your kids are interested in and read it to them. Listening to these stories will impress them and having a sports idol to look up to will encourage them to take on sports and make them want to be like these professionals one day.
Sports can provide your kids with the safe space they need to be themselves and develop different traits like responsibility and perseverance. Practice some of the above tips to know how you can nudge your kids towards liking sports. As they grow up, they will appreciate the fun it gave them as kids and the empowerment it gave them as adults.