Have you considered how to get your kids into sports? You’ll know that there are plenty of advantages to your child playing sports and all-around staying active, but your kid? They might need a little bit of convincing. Whereas in the olden days it seems as if children were always playing outdoors, these are different times. It’s more likely that a child will prefer to sit inside and play with their devices rather than put on their running shoes and explore the outdoors.
Still, while the world may be structured to make this the more likely option, it’s not the only one. You have some control over your child’s love of sports! In this blog, we’re going to run through some of the key ways that parents can foster a love of the sports in their kids.
Your children are, of course, going to learn a lot from you — and it won’t be just from what you tell them. They learn by seeing what you do yourself; it’s no coincidence that people that grew up with parents that prepared healthy meals go on to eat well when they become adults. If you’re trying to get your kids into sports, then it’s important that you’re playing sports yourself. It doesn’t have to be the same one that they play; it’s more about creating a generally active lifestyle. If they see that mom and dad are spending their Saturday mornings engaged in sporting activities, then they’ll be more likely to pick up a sport themselves.
Get the Equipment
There’s nothing worse than the sight of a kid who wants to play sports but who can’t because they just don’t have what they need. While sporting equipment can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be — if money is tight, then take a look at a second-hand website that serves your local area. People are always throwing away old sporting equipment that they no longer need, so you’ll be able to stock up your garage with sporting goods without splashing the cash. In any case, that approach only applies to more equipment heavy sports or when your kid is becoming more serious about the sport. In the early days, just having a football or soccer ball around will be enough.
Make it Fun
If there’s one thing that’ll put children off sports for, well, ever, it’s if they’re not having fun. While you’ll be able to see the long-term benefits of playing a sport, children aren’t like that — they won’t see things that way. All they’ll care about is having fun. It’s a bit like if you were an adult that was forced to play chess. If the person that introduced you to the instrument made things extra fun, then you’d be likely to stick with it. If they were shouting at you because you weren’t taking it seriously enough during your first lesson, you’d never go back.
Let Them Choose The Sport
There’s no shortage of sports that your child can play. While it’s normal that they’ll be pushed towards the main American sports, they aren’t the only ones. Did you know that there are 8000 sports in the world?! They’ll be a type of sport that your kid loves. The key is to look out for clues that they might be interested in one type and then gently encourage them down that path. It’s a bit like reading — a child might think they hate reading, but the reality is that they just haven’t found the book that’s right for them. The same goes for sport!
Show The Best Athletes
If we all look back into how our passions were developed way back when, we’d probably recall that there was one superstar that made it happen. If you love music, then it might have been the sight of Queen serenading Wembley Stadium during Live Aid. If you’re a comedy fan, the confidence of early Dave Chapelle or George Carlin might have what got you hooked on the craft. If your child sees an athlete at the peak of their powers, then they’ll be more likely to be intrigued by the sport. There are a few standout players in each sport. In soccer, it’s all about Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. In basketball, Lebron James is considered the finest player since Michael Jordan. Serena Williams dominates tennis. If one of these players is doing their thing on television (or even better, live in person), then make sure your kid sees.
Join a Sports Team
Sport can be fun on an individual level, but it’s even better when you’re sharing the good times with friends. If your child is showing some interest in a sport, then look at signing them up for a team. This can be a game-changing moment for young sports lovers. All of a sudden, they’re not just practicing the sport in their yard; they’re getting coached by people who understand the sport, they’re making friends, and they’re even competing against other teams. Even if they don’t go on to break records in their chosen sport, they’ll create plenty of happy memories. Plus, those team get-togethers can create good times for you too, since you’ll get to be friends with the parents of the other parents.
Get Them a Jersey
They will love it, even if they don’t even understand the sport yet. Plus, those photos you take with him or her wearing it will be something special to look back on in years to come.
While it’s possible that your child will fall in love with the sport and want to do it all day, every day, that’s less likely at the beginning. That’s something that they’ll build up to. In the beginning, it’s a good idea to just practice the sport for short periods of time, rather than dragging it out. Everything can become a lot less fun if we’re doing it for hours on end before the strong attachment we feel for the activity has set in.
Invite the Family Over
Everyone wants to be involved in those things that look and feel like great fun, don’t they? One way to get your kids into sport — and to show them how important it can be — is to celebrate those big sporting events as a family. This is more about instilling a sporting culture into your kids than anything else, but in many ways that’s just as important as the physical side of things. So the next time the Super Bowl rolls around, invite all your friends and family over, and have some fun.
One of the great things about sports is that a love of the sport and a particular team is passed down from generation to generation. If your family has a long history of supporting a team, then make sure that your children know about it! There’s nothing more exciting to a young person than hearing fun tales of their grandparents going to see a game, how things were different back then, things like that. It’s like having an awesome story that you are in some way a part of. Through the act of retelling these stories, you’ll be developing the love your child has for your local team and your family — and also, it’s just a fun way to spend a night of bonding.
Genetics do play a role in how well someone can perform a sport, but not as much as people think — it’s more about those tiny advantages that a person can have. If your child is eating well, then they’ll be much more likely to run outside rather than stay all day indoors, because they’ll have energy. And they’ll also be better at their chosen sport, and nothing will motivate a person to continue with something more than being good at it!
Finally, remember that, as with all things in life, you can’t expect your kid’s enthusiasm for their sport to just run on autopilot. It’s something that you’ll actively need to manage. The fact of the matter is that playing sports isn’t always a fun stroll in the park — if they play for long enough, they’ll have to endure a rainy day outdoors or face defeat. While these are typically viewed as the bad sides of sports, they’re actually not. In fact, they’re better than the beautiful spring days and easy victories because they teach us character. When it seems like your child might be ready to throw in the towel, make sure you’re giving them an encouraging word or two.
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, there’s a lot of value in taking the time to foster a love of sports within your children. If they have that passion early on in life, then it’s something that’ll stick with them throughout their adulthood. If you’re a sports fan yourself, you’ll know how many of your best moments in life have been attached to sports in one way or another; indeed, for many people and communities, it’s an anchor that has a dramatically positive impact on their life.