Others are slower to take to sport. Maybe they’re shy and take time to warm up to new people. Maybe they’re embarrassed about trying new things. Or maybe they get anxious when they’re not the best at something right away. If you have a child who’s showing some hesitation about sport, here are five ways you can encourage them.
- Play together! The easiest way to encourage your kids’ interest in sport is to make it fun. Kick the soccer ball around, play a game of catch, or practice cartwheels in the yard. Head out to a game or competition – from local schools to regional teams, to professional leagues in your area. They’ll learn so much just from watching.
- Give your child space to learn. It’s okay for them to be awkward while they’re learning. They will make mistakes. Let them try a few times before correcting them. Remember, your job is to focus on fun and help them learn new skills, not pressure them to win.
- Model positive behavior. If you’re shouting at referees or throwing your hat on the ground after a loss, you’re creating a negative environment. Set a good example by keeping your cool and being respectful to all officials, athletes, and coaches.
- Learn how to communicate when they get frustrated. Give your child time to cool down when they’re upset about something that happened during practice or competition. Talk to them later, keep it positive, and encourage them to try again.
- Check in after practices. Ask them how they’re feeling. Did they have fun? What did they like about it? What could have gone better? Keeping communication open will let them know they can come to you with a problem.
What if you’ve tried all that and they’re still not interested? That’s okay! Active play is what’s most important. They don’t need to take formal lessons or join a team for that. Keep it fun and keep them moving.