Almost every parent has experienced that mother or father standing at the edge of the sport's field, yelling out instructions to their kids. While this type of involvement with your kids sport can be unhelpful, there are some tips on how you can encourage your child in sports, without them being embarrassed by your sideline shouting.
Six ways to support your child in sports
- Put the focus on fun
Kids don't need to be encouraged to be competitive at a young age as it may become stressful if they don’t meet expectations. Instead, put the focus on fun and participation and divert attention away from the black and white thinking of win or lose.
- Support the team regardless of outcome
Phrases like "good try," "better luck next time!," and "nice effort" can be helpful in situations where a game doesn't go your child's way. It’s always better to focus on the positives during the game instead of drawing attention to mistakes.
- Teach respect
Don't inadvertently encourage a negative attitude towards opponents, but rather foster a view of fair play and mutual respect. This will help your kids well into the future, especially when they encounter difficult situations during their teen years.
- Take a step back from the coaching (as long as you’re not the coach!)
If you notice an inconsistency in the rules or game, let it go and remember it's just for fun. Even if a team unjustly loses out on a point, try to keep your cool. All parents want their kids to be successful but this it’s also good to lead by example in situations like these.
- Encourage physical activity
It's great that the kids are out there getting active! Help to role model this behavior by encouraging them to practicing with you. Perhaps they could teach you something they learnt during their team training sessions.
- Be there to support and cheer your child on in a loving way
Encouraging your child and offering positive reinforcement regardless of the outcome of the game, will help your kids benefit from whatever sport they play. Their memories and enjoyment of this time may also be the reason they continue with a sport they love into their teen years and beyond.