It is something a lot of parents probably dream of; watching their children’s sports games over the weekend. The whole getting up (very) early on Saturday morning, driving for two hours to the other side of the city to watch a bunch of 8-year olds play netball (and then driving those two hours back) is something we somehow cherish.
Besides, don’t we all love a bit of bragging about our kid’s sports performances? ‘Our Timmy scored 7 points last weekend!’ or ‘little Sophie over here is her team’s top goal scorer this season!’ always do well on birthday parties and barbecues.
But how do we make sure that our children pick the sports they enjoy, possibly even for years to come?
The most important – or at least, what we think is most important for our kids – is that they’re having fun! So listen to them and you’ll hopefully get some more insights in what they love. Simply asking questions can help narrow down your search. Try to ask them if they had fun playing today and what their favourite part was. Also, watch for any signs of enthusiasm that your child gives. Does your child keep talking about last week’s basketball try-out? That’s probably a pretty big sign that he or she enjoyed it. And does your kid love to join you on the couch when your favourite team is playing? That also looks like a sign that he or she is interested in the sports you’re watching.
What definitely helps is what we like to call the good old throw-a-ball-in-the-backyard-approach*. You probably have a football or a basketball in or around your house; just play with your child! You’ll find out soon enough if they enjoy it.
*This also works perfectly for sports that do not require a ball. Take them swimming, cycling – just go out and play!
Let them choose
Make sure you don’t push too much. Simply because you love baseball, it (unfortunately) doesn’t necessarily mean that your kid will want to be the next Major League superstar. Still, even after all the work you put into finding the perfect sports, chances are that your child doesn’t like it. Just keep in mind that it is perfectly natural for kids to try out different sports and switch a couple of times. In the end, they are the ones that have to do and like it so we might as well make sure that we try our best in helping them make the right choice.
Team sports or individual sports?
Some kids are just more into team sports while others prefer to test their skills individually. Both forms of sport are great and it definitely helps to try and find out which sort of sports works best for your children.
We tried every single sport on earth and my child didn’t like any of them
Yes, this happens. Even though we think sports are a great way for children to learn certain skills, there is always the possibility that your kid is just not that into sports. So if after trying out 18 different sports you have not yet found one that your child loves: no worries! There are lots of other great ways for children to learn these valuable skills. Maybe they’ll love to play an instrument or take dance classes; your child may be a great painter in the making or become a huge fan of reading: those are great hobbies too!
So, you found something your child might like, or you’re lacking inspiration? Take a look at the sports section and be inspired!