Parents are the biggest enablers of child success, be it in academics or sports. In fact, for kid sports start at home, parents become their first coach/mentor. We understand that with work commitments, it is very difficult for a parent to get involved with their kid in extracurricular activities.
Especially in India, sports are not as valued as in the western world. Parents approving sports as a career option for their kids is very rare. This mindset is due to the sort of sports infrastructure that is present. Schools don’t consider sports as a main subject, sports are just recognized as physical training.
Sports is an invaluable tool for teaching kids work ethics, teamwork, competitiveness, accountability, selflessness, respect. Sports build character, sportsmanship, and leadership in a fun way. It helps deal with adversities from an early age.
Here are some of the guidelines you as parents can help your kids have fun with sports:
Play to your kid’s strengths.
Winning and losing are part of every game, keeping scores of lost matches can backfire and create a flurry of mental issues, and it can affect their self-esteem. In the beginning, the focus should be on learning the basics of how to play, how to move, pick up skills, and be coached. When you make learning sports a fun activity, kids will learn to cope with the results themselves. Keeping the scores also won’t hamper their attitude. As parents, you need to appreciate the process, not the outcome. Playing it to their strength!
Find out what’s not fun, and why.
Kids may lose interest very fast, this might be due to various reasons. Learning is not fun or difficult in acquiring skills or getting hassled by better players—anything might be the cause. When a kid suddenly wants to quit the game or feels stressed to go to practice, that’s a sign that something is not right. Talk to your child, ask them what is happening? How’s the practice? Is it fun? How is the coach treating you? Listening to your kids often can boost their emotions.
Show them your involvement, be like most school parents. Get involved with your kids to make sure they make the most out of their participation. Your involvement can influence a kid’s positive mindset. Waking up early to go to practice or being around to watch them during tournaments or occasionally sparing with them or watching a match with them on T.V all have a positive impact. Though they love the game they are playing, kids always want to know that you feel proud of them. Parent’s intervention at the right time can help tackle any sort of situation formidably.
Being positive does not mean being unrealistic. Every aspiring athlete dreams of becoming a pro, some succeed and some don’t. When parents have the knowledge of the sports their kids play, they can provide meaningful feedback. Kids are very observant, they sense your actions and feelings towards them. Being on the sideline during an important match is being positive and hurling rants at them is not. Parents need to have constructive criticism about how their kids are playing. Your views on them, on other kids, on their coaches and referees, should always be encouraging. Remember their positive participation will depend on your positive attitude. You should never have them thinking “if you don’t play to win, then why play at all”. Be real, be helpful.
Sports and sporting events evoke a lot of strong emotions, a good parent should disciple them, help keep them balanced midst this roller-coster is not an easy task. For a kid to be successful, they should never be under the false notion of unrealistic expectations. Parents should never go overboard in doing things for kids. All that a parent should teach their child is they should learn to pick themselves up when they fall.