There are many ways to demonstrate the importance of physical activity and sports, and most of them will benefit you as much as your child. Go for walks and/or runs with your kids, or join a gym together. Enjoying family games in the backyard like a kickball or softball game is another way to keep everyone’s activity level up and have fun while doing it! There are many options for ‘pick-up’ games your family (and the whole neighborhood!) can enjoy.
Make Sports Fun
The benefits of tossing a baseball around or playing basketball together go well beyond quality time spent together.
A child’s tendency to associate sports with fun starts with you, the parent, and teaching them early on that sports are fun – not just competition – is essential to fostering a love of physical activity in your children at a young age.
Teach your kid to ride a bike, and go on bike rides together. Get a basketball hoop and teach them the basics of dribbling and shooting. If you prefer to go to the gym, take your child with you and find fun activities for them to participate in.
It is normal to introduce your kids to the sports you enjoy most yourself. However, as time goes on, pay close attention to your child and observe whether they seem to be having fun. It is entirely possible that your favorite sport won’t interest them at all, and that is completely fine — just be ready to accept it and move onto another option. Try introducing them to many different sports and see if they are naturally inclined toward one.
Encourage Team Participation
Kids love playing games with each other, and having a group of friends over to play is a wonderful way to nurture love of exercise in a team setting.
Think of a way you can contribute to making your house a good site for an activity your child enjoys. Is there a field nearby for soccer? Do you have a yard that might work for football or baseball? Do you own woods where you could build trails?
When your house is a meeting place for your child and their friends, it makes playing sports that much more special and memorable, and teaches them the value and importance of team participation.
No child wants to be a disappointment to an adult. Make sure to always stay upbeat and encouraging about sports. Smile frequently and don’t let the mood turn too competitive, as this can create pressure and even leave a lasting negative impression on a child. You don’t want them to associate sports with being a disappointment to their parents or their coach.
Try saying things like, “it looks like you were having fun out there today,” or “all I care about is that you tried your hardest and you had fun.” These little statements create the feeling that sports will not add stress to life, but rather be a place for relieving it.