This post is all about How to Get Your Kids Interested in Sports. Kids who participate in sports experience many benefits. By being physically active, children become healthier, develop physical skills, improve self-esteem, make new friends, and learn how to be great team players. However, according to research from 2019, less than 60 percent of kids aged 6-17 participated in a sports team or did sports on weekends.
How to Get Your Kids Interested in Sports
And sure, we can see that with the rise of technology, kids are leading an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, which puts them at greater risk of obesity and chronic disease. While a large chunk of the responsibility is on policymakers who need to provide more local and affordable opportunities for families to get active, parents can do what’s in their power to motivate their children to be interested in sports. Read on to learn how to get your kids eager about sports and happy to participate.
Find Something They Are Interested in
It is very difficult to keep children interested in sports if they simply don’t enjoy them. If your child doesn’t like their after-school activity, they’ll avoid participating in it, and they’ll be unhappy. But fortunately, there are so many options.
Try to find a sport that your child is naturally interested in. What do they play at school? What sports do they watch on TV? What do they talk about with their friends? Talk to them about trying the sports out for a couple of days, but the final decision needs to be theirs.
Try out Different Sports
There is a chance that your child won’t like participating in certain sports even though they like watching them on TV or playing a video game based on them. That’s okay. Don’t despair if they give up on some activity after a few sessions. Try out several different ones before committing to one. Fortunately, most kids’ training programs offer free trial sessions. This is a great way to discover their preferences without the extra pressure.
Support Them, but Don’t Push Them Too Hard
Once your child picks out an activity they enjoy, provide support by showing interest in their progress. Talk to them about their likes and dislikes. Ask them what extra equipment they need and consider how you can help them prepare for every practice session. For example, if their choice is baseball, you can build a home batting cage using some simple supplies.
Naturally, parents want their kids to be successful at everything they do, but try not to put too much pressure on them. Playing a sport should be fun and enticing.
Make Sure the Chosen Activity Is Age-appropriate
If you are having doubts about the right activity for your kid and they are also indecisive, consider sports that are suitable for their age. Here are a couple of guidelines:
- Ages 2 to 5: Kids this age are just starting to get a grasp of basic movements, which makes them too young for most organized sports. At this age, it is best to focus on unstructured free play, such as dancing, playing with a ball, swimming, and running.
- Ages 6 to 9: At this age, kids can focus for extended periods of time, they are better at following directions, and their motor skills are pretty good. Since they’re capable of organized activities, consider gymnastics, tennis, football, and martial arts.
- Age 10+: Most kids have better coordination, balance, and a mature vision at the age of 10. This makes them ready for complex-skill activities and team sports, like basketball, volleyball, baseball, hockey, and football.
Show, Don’t Tell
Kids, especially younger ones, form their view of the world by watching their parents. If they see you avoiding physical activity and observing it as a chore, it is highly likely they will share that feeling. So, try to lead by example and show that exercising is fun for you too. Understandably, most parents don’t have time for distractions, but you can talk about your love for some sports and share your stories from the past.
Another part of the “show, don’t tell” principle is joining kids in their activities. It can inspire them to associate sports with fun and make physical activity their happy place. Just remember all of the movies where adults have such lovely memories of playing catch with their parents. You can go on a bike ride with them, try hiking, play basketball in your backyard, or do anything all of you consider amusing.
There’s No Disappointment in Sports
We’ve already mentioned that you shouldn’t put too much pressure on your child to be successful at sports. We can’t emphasize this enough. If the kids have a competitive spirit, want to work hard, and are talented in their chosen sports, good for them. But even then, try to show them that winning isn’t as important as participating.
Of course, show pride when they succeed, but don’t show disappointment when things aren’t going that well, as that can affect their confidence. Use phrases such as “it looks like you had fun today” or “I know you did your best.” Make sure to let them know you’re proud of them no matter what.
Remember that encouraging your kids to pursue sports has a long-term goal – for sports to remain a part of their life consistently now and when they grow up. So, work with them to find activities they genuinely enjoy and help them associate sports with positive emotions.