From the moment your child is born, you watch them grow and develop into the little human being they are today. If they don’t outright tell you the things they’re interested in, you might do certain things to find out their interests. For example, you might take your daughter out with you to get her nails painted or you might take your son to a monster truck show to see if he likes that… those are little things that parents do to get to know their children better, on their level. But can you think of one of the areas that both boys and girls have a general interest in? It’s sports! As a parent, if you notice your little one taking an interest in sports, you probably want to sign your child up for a recreational youth sports group to get them active and to feed their competitive side.
According to The Sport Journal, when children get involved in sports at an early age, they develop a strong sense of positive self-esteem and confidence and they grow up to live healthy and happy lives. Participating in youth sports also encourages your child to learn better communication skills, leadership qualities, and mutual respect for others. Many kids form lifelong friendships with their teammates, not to mention, it gets your kids out of the house and away from the tv or computer screen.
If you see that your child is developing into a real athlete, you can become more involved in your child’s passion to help foster a love of the sport and to develop a closer bond with your son or daughter.
If you’ve considered helping out with your child’s athletic aspirations here are some ways to get started.
1. Become a Coach
Being a coach means more than just running children through a few drills and choosing who plays what position. When you decide to become a coach, you become a mentor for every one of the kids on your team. Kids will look up to you for advice and encouragement.
You don’t have to be a perfect athlete yourself to coach a sport, you just need to have a positive attitude and a general understanding of the game. This is especially true when you’re coaching little tikes. They will just be beginning to learn the fundamentals of teamwork and the sport, so there’s less pressure to win and know every play and position.
Your son or daughter will feel inspired and proud of having their mom as a coach. This will also show daughters and sons that women can be great coaches and leaders.
2. Help Your Child Practice and Learn More at Home
Being a great athlete means going above and beyond the basics. You can help your child excel by encouraging and organizing practice at home. You can also help them learn more about their sport by checking out library books and watching professional games together.
You can even bring your little one to school sporting events, college-level games, and professional games to see what more developed athletes do. This will help your son or daughter get more perspective on the game and to find a role model that they can look up to.
Foster Better Eating habits at Home
While helping them become better athletes at home, you can also help them by providing them with healthy meals. Because your child is active in sports, they’re already ahead in being healthy but instilling healthy eating habits in your child at an early age is still one of the biggest solutions to childhood obesity to this very day. Yes, it’s easier to stop at a fast-food restaurant or run into the gas station to buy sugary drinks and chips but your child’s health is worth way more than ease and convenience.
3. Stay Positive and Be Their Biggest Cheerleader
Teams lose. It’s the reality of youth sports. This can be hard for young athletes to cope with. Be sure that you don’t make your child’s game only about winning and losing. This can set them up for additional disappointment and lead to negative reactions after games. Always find a moment or play to celebrate.
Remind your child that they are only competing to do the best they can. It’s normal for people to have off days or not perform to their own standards from time to time, so don’t be too hard on your kid if they seem to not try as hard one day versus another.
One of the greatest ways to show your support as a parent is to get team “swag.” You can get together with some of the other team parents and get custom-made tote bags or travel mugs to represent your favorite team. The kids get excited to see their parents support them in such a way and the parents are proud to rock anything their child is involved in, especially sports.
4. Volunteer as the Team Parent
Team parents play a vital role in the underlying success of a team. As a team parent, you don’t just prepare fruit and drinks for the team, you have to help manage the budget, order equipment, transport equipment to away games, and often book travel accommodations. While being a team parent might not be the most glamorous job, it’s a great way to be involved without having to wear cleats or a whistle.