It goes without saying that kids should do sports, but not all kids have the motivation required for this. Motivating kids to do sports is not necessarily easy, especially with children who have personalities that prefer staying indoors and doing quiet activities. However a certain amount of sport in moderation is necessary, and should therefore be encouraged to a certain degree. However it is important that you do not push your children too hard when it comes to sports.
Why Sports Are Important For Children
Obesity is a rather severe problem in this country at the moment. Children should not be made to stay skinny, but they should avoid becoming overweight. This is one of the main advantages that exercise and sport for children can have, and one of the primary reasons why you should motivate your kids to do sport. Apart from the health issues involved in being overweight, overweight children are often victimized at school which results in a whole range of psychological problems as well. At the same time you need to make it clear to your child that you accept him or her regardless of his or her size.
Decreased Risk Of Developing Type 2 Diabetes
Studies have shown that. To a certain degree, regular exercise in children can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes in a form of diabetes that develops later in life (as opposed to type 1 diabetes which patients tend to have from birth). Sport therefore has two advantages in this regard:
- It promoted the overall well being and general health status of your child.
- It specifically prevents conditions like type 2 diabetes from arising in your child.
This is not an argument that a young child will pay much attention too, but it is a good argument for convincing other parents that their children need exercise.
Children who exercise more have also been shown to sleep much better than children who do not do a lot of sport. This great motivation for parents to find ways to motivate their children to do sport. Children who have been active during the day tend to be more physically tired when they go to bed. If they have used their minds in addition to the sport activities (as is the case with school age children) they will be tired mentally and physically and will therefore fall asleep at an appropriate time and get the appropriate number of hours of sleep.
There are a number of ways in which self-esteem can grow through sports:
- Your child will have the opportunity to make new friends by participating in spots groups, teams, and clubs.
- The encouragement that they receive when doing the sport and the praise they get when they win will also improve their self esteem.
A child with high self-esteem is happier overall and has a stronger outlook on life that promotes general success across the board. However it is important that you do not push a child who is not naturally good at sport to achieve goals that he or she cannot achieve as this will have the opposite effect.
Sport requires teamwork, and consequently motivating kids to do sport can result in them developing a good idea of sportsmanship and how to play well with others. Although there is always a chance that your child will become overly competitive and focused on self-glory to benefit fully from this, your child will learn about wins, losses, hard work and commitment, which are all aspects of real life. Consequently there is quite a big chance for your child to develop emotionally in areas that he or she may not otherwise have developed in by encouraging them to take part in sporting activities, without pushing them beyond what they want to do.
Let Your Child Choose
It is very important that, when it comes to motivating kids to do sport, that you let them choose the sport that they would like to do as this will increase the chance that your child wills tick to their commitment. If your child doesn’t have a sport in mind, suggests options based on his or her preference by considering these questions:
- Does your child prefer to be outdoors or indoors?
- Is your child more interested in games of strength, stamina or group play?
If you want your child to stick to the sport without giving up you really have to focus on finding one that they like.
Sometimes convincing your child to take up a sport needs an indirect approach. For example it may be better to try to build your child’s excitement in a sport before enrolling her in classes. You could start watching the sport on television or, better yet, take her to watch her friends or other children of a similar age play the sport in a fun environment. Do this s few times and then, after your child has received a large amount of exposure to the target sport, offer her the chance to take the sport up herself. If she doesn’t want to, see if there is another sport that she would like instead by repeating the process.
Incorporate Video Games
One thing that many parents do not think of when trying to think of ways to motivate their children to do sport is video games. There are many video games that actually allow children to exercise and the value of these games for children who prefer indoor activities and who do not like team efforts cannot be overlooked. There are a number of video games that actively burn calories such as:
- Dance, Dance Revolution
- Nintendo Wii
As a parent you should be open to the idea of allowing your child to get the exercise that he or she needs through whatever medium suits them, even if it is virtual sport.
Celebrate Playing, Not Winning
Your attitude as a parent will affect your child’s attitude towards the sport that they have enrolled in. it is very important that you celebrate playing and not winning, or else your child may become far too competitive. In addition it could severely hurt their self-esteem if they think that your positive regard for them is intrinsically linked to their ability to win a sports game. Instead you should be generally positive about the fact that the child is engaged in a sport and that you are simply happy that they enjoy the game. Of course victories should be noted and not overlooked, but it should be understood that winning is not the be all and end all of the game.
Offer A Reward System
Here is an example of a reward system useful in motivating kids to do sports:
- Start a chart and have kids write down how much they exercised each day and what type of exercise it was.
- Different types of exercise can have different points.
- Choose prizes for them to work towards and set a point’s goal for each prize.
Remember that although sports are the ideal, any exercise is good. Let your children be creative in terms of how they get their daily quotient of exercise in and give them an opportunity to tray a variety of different skills.
Don’t Let Them Dwell On Mistakes
Some children are more serious about sport than others. Those who take sport very seriously tend to define themselves at least to a certain degree by how good they perceive themselves to be at a sport. Consequently they will take losses and mistakes very hard. You, as the parent, need to foster an attitude where mistakes are accepted as part of life, thereby helping your child to move on and try again next time. This is very important. If a child allowed to dwell on his perceived mistakes he will not benefit emotionally from the sport in the same way and therefore feel demotivated.
Lead By Example
Children will respond better to the idea of doing sport if you, the parent, do sport as well. Your child will not feel motivated to start a new sport if they see that the main adult role model in their life does not make much of an effort to be actives themselves. You do not have to do the same sport as your child or give the impression that your child must do the same sport as you, but a general example of physical activity will come in handy.
Motivating kids to do sports is easier said than done but there are certainly a large number of options that you can try if you are having trouble in this regard. The fact that it is good for children to sports, in moderation, is undisputed and it is therefore necessary that you, as a parent, at least make the effort to try to motivate your children in this very important aspect of their lives.