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Everyone knows that children benefit physically from sports, but one of the over-looked benefits of playing sports is the life lessons. Team-based and individual sports can help kids develop a sense of confidence and improve their self-esteem. And you can help. We set the tone for their experiences. Consider the following when exploring sports with your children.
Be a role model and coach
Parents and coaches can make or break a kid's love of sports. Kids observe how we demonstrate sportsmanship. Showing respect for the other team and officials, focusing on how well the team played rather than wins or losses, and shaking hands with the other team after the game are ways we can all help create a positive environment. While it is a big responsibility, it is the ultimate opportunity to bond with our kids. But remember, these are kids. The negative, yelling and screaming coaching style will not prove effective with these young people.
Ask them which activities they'd like to try
When you're trying to find sports and activities for your kids, think about their personalities and what they enjoy doing. Some may enjoy team sports like soccer, while others prefer individual sports, like swimming. Not every child will want to play little league baseball or hockey, but with a bit of investigating and a lot of patience, you can explore several options your kids may enjoy.
Enroll with a friend
Then, they can look forward to participating together, and mom and dad can benefit from ride-sharing, too.
Set some ground rules
When you try a new sport, explain that it will be for the whole season. Ask them to try their best and remind them at the end of the season, they don't have to commit to doing it again. Often, kids will really grow and even reluctant young athletes can gain confidence as the season progresses.
Celebrate the successes
As a life-long coach, my goal is simple, I always try to celebrate the successes, no matter how little. At a young age, it's less about winning the game and more about trying our best and being good sports out on the field. And, to help make sure all kids feel a part of the team we always had a team cheer — win or lose — to celebrate.
Explore other ways to be active together
If organized sports aren't for your child, remember family physical activities are also a great opportunity. Going for walks together, taking a hike or a bike ride, just going and spending time together is important. It can be a great family bonding opportunity. The key is helping to create a sense of enjoyment and making sure that being active is not something they feel like they "have" to do, but instead want to do.