Motivate kids to play

Often children quit sports by the time they reach 13, leaving parents frustrated. Roselou Warren lists down ways to help children alleviate the ‘sporting’ pressure they often face on field
The Community By Roselou Warren
Published on July 1, 2014
kids playing

Almost 75 per cent of children quit sports by the time they reach 13. While a lot of this has to do with specialisation and focusing on one sport, many children leave since they feel they can’t succeed. For parents, this can be frustrating because they don’t know the best way to reach out to their children. The Community lists down ways that can help alleviate the pressure children often face on field.

Focus on the child’s goals: Often parents enrol a child for a sport, but don’t talk about tangible goals. Instead, they put their own measures on the child.

Don’t let them dwell on mistakes: Most youngsters, and even some teens, focus only on what they did wrong. While you need to address problems, use them as learning tools.

Offer total encouragement, not just winning encouragement: Most parents will tell their child “to make them proud” before heading onto the court. That can be a mixed message, though, as the child feels love will be taken away if he doesn’t win. Instead, tell him you will be proud of him no matter what.

Encourage effort and not victories: Telling a child he is a great athlete may seem like positive encouragement, but it can lead to problems. If children face adversity, they may no longer think they are “great.” Instead, tell your child he is doing well because he practices and works hard.

Don’t patronise kids: Children are fairly perceptive when they are getting a false story such as telling a kid that even “superstars drop passes” if they are having trouble catching a ball. Most kids don’t think of themselves as superstars and this sends a mixed message. Instead, tell them to keep working when they make a mistake.

Take part in their skill development: Playing catch in the backyard after a game or shooting hoops shows kids that their parents are interested in what they do. However, don’t try to over-coach them. Focus on what they do and not what they should do.

Share your stories, but don’t make them pressure-filled: This means tell your kids about your fears and concerns when you played sports, but stay away from tales of how great you were and how you expect them to be better.

SPEND TIME TALKING TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT THEIR SPORTS. LISTEN TO WHAT THEY SAY THEY ENJOY. ALSO, LOOK FOR BOREDOM SIGNS. IF A CHILD DOESN’T SEEM INTERESTED IN PLAYING A SPORT, TRY TO FIGURE OUT WHY. IT COULD BE HE IS EXHAUSTED BY IT OR BURNT OUT.

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2 comments on “Motivate kids to play”

  1. Lyn says:

    Every parent should read this. We are all aware of how our children have been hugging the technology, like it’s all they live for!

  2. Tina says:

    Great article! Thanks for these very helpful tips. I have a very active 7 year old boy, this would really help.

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