Being A Good Sport
There’s a lot of pressure to achieve in our part of the world. We live in a fast-paced culture and there are just so many opportunities available to us. While this isn’t bad, our enthusiasm for achievement and success can overshadow the critical aspects (like fun!) of their activities. Here’s how to keep the focus of kids’ activities where it should be:
Avoid rewards as a way to motivate your kids.
A weekly trip to Dairy Queen after soccer or swimming can become a fun family ritual. Just be careful about creating a we-just-worked-out-so-now-it’s-time-to-splurge mentality in your kids. The real reward from being involved in a sport or activity is the fun, the friends, the exercise, the skill development. It shouldn’t be the ice cream, or the money for each goal scored or a lavish gift after the recital. Let a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from her effort be the motivation, not the treat at the end of practice.
As always, don’t compare kids.
Focus on each child’s progress and effort, and most importantly, let enjoyment be the deciding factor. If your son isn’t great at soccer but he loves playing, fantastic! Consider the goals of enrolling him in soccer in the first place. Did you want him to meet new friends? Be physically active? Learn something new? Feel good about himself? Focus on that, not whether or not he’s the best.
Think about your own behaviour.
The number of parents making headlines for behaving shamefully at their children’s sport games is staggering. Swearing, name-calling, being a poor sport, and (heaven help us) throwing punches, have absolutely no place at a children’s sporting event. I would hope that goes without saying that. Use this opportunity to teach your kids that sometimes you try really hard and you still don’t win, but that’s ok. The point is that you have fun, you do your best, and you get a little bit better at your game each time you play. Take the competitive edge out of the equation by supporting all the players, even the ones on the other team, when they make a good save or an amazing play.
And speaking of modelling, participate in sports and be a good sport yourself. A 2000 Stats Canada report found that when parents take part in organized sports, either by playing or volunteering, their kids are far more likely to get involved, too. So get playing!
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