What better time to encourage your children to start something new?
As another year begins, it’s important to keep setting a positive example and making great memories as a family.
If you’ve tried to get your kids into sport before, you’ll know that it’s not easy to find an activity that comes naturally. But when you show them how to persevere in sport, the benefits can last a lifetime. No matter whether you’re bringing up toddlers or teenagers, it’s always worth knowing why and how you should support their sporting endeavours.
Why is sport important for young people?
There are countless benefits to participating in sport throughout childhood and adolescence. From seeing improvements in their emotional and physical health to learning lifelong skills, the opportunities are plentiful and varied. A few of the most notable include:
- Physical health: Sport almost always involves running or moving around and plays a valuable part in helping a child meet the minimum recommended requirements for exercise throughout the week. Moving your body regularly can boost your mood, lower blood pressure, strengthen the heart, and support your immune system.
- Social skills: Teamwork and communication are integral to playing sport successfully, regardless of someone’s age. When children learn how to work together to achieve success, they simultaneously improve their own cognitive development and social capabilities too. In time, they harness quick thinking and smart decision making.
- Relationship building: Whether it’s with their siblings, parents or friends at school, children learn more about interacting with others. Understanding how others might respond to a certain situation in a game is critical. As a family, playing together will help to strengthen your bond – and their empathy too.
- Fun: You should never underestimate the importance of giving your children more opportunities to simply have good fun. Beyond playing the sport itself, it’s easy for children to find ways to celebrate their teams or idols. If you watch games at home and buy the shirts of their favourite players, the fun lasts even longer.
- Confidence: As long as you start slowly and introduce more complex techniques only when your child feels ready, you should see them start to progress towards playing their sport at a more advanced level.
How to encourage your child to play more sports
There are a few ways to help your child play without making them feel pressured or reluctant. It’s a delicate balance to achieve, so you should try to:
- Show up: It means more when your child can see your support. Attend training sessions and matches and try to always be there for the inevitable lifts.
- Show interest: Ask your child about the skills they’ve learned or any new experiences in sport. Sharing memories will help to foster enthusiasm.
- Practice together: If you’re physically able, getting involved and letting your child show you the ropes could be a wonderful way to spend time together.
- Celebrate the wins: Never dwell on disappointments. Always try to build your child up to the next celebration, without adding any extra pressure to win.
Introducing a child to sport is a brilliant way to help them build confidence, foster their teamwork and communication skills, and make unforgettable memories. With your support, your child will be set up for success and lifelong enjoyment of sport.