In this day and age there are many kids who would rather sit inside and watch television rather than play outside or do physical activities. Many parents I know force their kids to play at least one sport just to make sure the child is active. I don’t completely disagree with telling a child they must pick one activity but I also think that a child should be encouraged and inspired to play. My son loves playing and these are a few things I’ve done to inspire him to love sports:
1. Practice together-Kids love spending time with their parents plus if you take time out of your schedule to practice then it shows your child this activity is worthwhile. I recommend starting with a very minimal amount of time at first based on your child’s age, ability, and interest. Even setting a timer for 5 or 10 minutes at first will show them they don’t have to spend endless time practicing. Make it as fun as possible. I usually have my son practice a skill for a few minutes then play a game that reinforces that skill. It helps for them to see you laughing and having a great time. Make sure you keep your patience no matter how annoying your child is being. It’s so important to teach them that this is fun!
2. Add a little friendly competition-Schedule a low key game once a week with a few friends. My son’s friends meet up to play different sports a few times a week. This enables your child to associate the game with friends and it’s more relaxing to play without a formal practice or game. You don’t have to make it into a huge play date. The other parents and I just send a quick text to each other that says something like, “At the basketball courts until about 4 if you guys want to stop over.” Usually at least one friend will stop over.
3. Watch professional games-If you can afford it go to a major league game or just watch some on television. I make special snacks and watch the games with my son. It’s not just about the game it’s about hanging out, eating awesome food, and developing a love and understanding of baseball. Our little league sells tickets to go to local minor league games and we all go together. These games are much cheaper than major’s games. Even going to high school games can be so much fun. We meet up with a couple of other families and have a blast supporting our high school soccer, basketball, and baseball teams. Plus your kids know that someday they’ll be playing for these teams too.
4. Make it a family thing-Schedule a family competition once a week. We have “Soccer Sundays” throughout the whole summer. We barbeque, set up a couple of soccer goals, make up teams, and challenge each other to a pretty competitive game of soccer. Usually the adults only play once but the kids can usually go at it for hours. The added bonus is they are EXHAUSTED and ready for bed much earlier than usual. I always feel like a good mom when I see kids outside, being active, and having fun with their family. It’s such a great combination.
5. Consider lessons-I know lessons can be very expensive. My son likes pretty much every sport but I try to really focus on improving just one per year. This year he took batting lessons with a professional coach. The difference in his hitting was unbelievable and he has so much more confidence. He wasn’t that into baseball because he had a rough year last year and struck out pretty much every single time. Now he loves playing because he is doing so well. As with anything in life, it is so much more fun to do the things you’re good at. It’s much more fun as a parent to watch your kid hit the ball than strike out too!
What do you do to get your kids excited to play sports? Let me know if any of these ideas work for your family!
Labels: Activities, Bonding, Children, Family, Gross Motor Skills, Parenting