It can be not very pleasant to find that a child enthusiastic about sports suddenly loses interest. You’ve already scheduled the games for the next few weeks and purchased the expensive equipment. Perhaps more importantly, you want your kid to be able to follow through and commit, at least until the end, to the sport.
Parents must find ways to encourage children to do things that are beneficial to them. For some kids, an NFL wall decal is all they need to get stoked for pee wee football. Others might respond better to an inspiring sports movie that helps them understand why people love the game.
You can encourage your children however you like, but it must be kind and guided towards personal growth. We’ll be discussing five ways you can do that.
Encourage your children to be athletes at all levels.
The best thing about sports is the variety of ways you can enjoy them. You can watch professional players at their best, participate in local rec leagues, or enjoy a casual game at the park.
When possible, let your kids see other people enjoying and playing sports at all levels. Professional games are great, of course — there’s nothing like a trip to the ball game with your kids. However, kids can see how other levels are played and what rec leagues look like. This helps them understand that sports can be something they love for a lifetime, even though they may not go pro.
This can be a huge help in relieving the pressure kids feel when they play sports. It also helps spread the message that not all people play to be professional athletes. Instead, they play because it’s fun and a way to get exercise, push themselves, and connect with others.
You can help your child discover what they love about sports and cultivate it.
There are many ways to approach sports. Most people enjoy it for more than one reason. Some enjoy pushing themselves in competition, while others love the physical rush of exercising. Many people love being outside and being part of a group.
Your child’s motivation is determined by their reasons for being motivated. Could you encourage them to find those reasons? If your child is highly competitive, they might need to learn more or strive for higher levels of play. If kids enjoy exercise but don’t want to be under pressure, they might find it easier to join kids’ fitness classes and low-pressure intramural groups.
Choose the right sport for your child.
It is best to talk with your child before they join a team. This will help them understand their expectations and align them with the nature of the sport. Baseball is not a good choice for high-energy kids who are constantly moving.
Many children want to switch sports from one year to the next. This should not be discouraged. Every child should have the chance to explore a variety and choose the ones that interest them most. To force them to follow a sport they don’t like isn’t helping them develop healthy habits. It makes them miserable.
Finally, don’t forget about sports outside the traditional team sports model. Some kids may be more comfortable with sports like weightlifting, swimming, or hiking. These sports are great for introverted kids or those who don’t like competition or large groups.
Let your child find a role model in sports.
If your child is a fan of a particular sports figure, it can be easier to get them excited about practice and games. Begin by watching sports together. Please take note of who your child is interested in and encourage them to continue following their progress. A few MLB wall decals of their favorite players or a kids’ peel-and-stick wallpaper featuring their favorite team can be a great way to keep the energy up even when they’re not playing.
You must consider the role models of your child’s favorite players. Even once clean, athletes can be caught in destructive behavior. Don’t let it stop you from having a heart-to-heart conversation. Don’t place any athlete on a pedestal. Talk openly about how humans can make mistakes, even those who are famous.
You can also be an example for kids about physical fitness. Be one of them! If your kids see you working out or just running every day, it will become part of their healthy, rewarding lifestyle.
A growth mindset is an important concept both for sports and for life in general. It is a way to emphasize effort and personal improvement over results such as winning or falling. For someone who has a growth mindset, making a mistake on the court is an opportunity to grow and not shameful evidence that you are a terrible player.
If young athletes have a fixed mindset and not a growth mindset, it can lead to them feeling deprived of the joy of playing sports. If parents want to motivate their children, they must encourage them to develop a growth mindset.
Do you find it difficult to encourage this type of thinking? Do you have unrealistic expectations regarding your child’s performance in sports? Are you more concerned about their winnings than their enjoyment? It’s never a bad idea to do some soul searching about how you motivate your children.