Want to help your kids get active? Sometimes encouraging kids sports activities isn’t quite as simple as signing them up to the school team. Luckily, we’ve got some ideas about how to help your family stay active and how to engage reluctant, or enthusiastic, kids when it comes to sports.
We all know that an active lifestyle is the best thing for our kids. Whether we’re encouraging them to play outside more or experimenting with a healthy protein cookies recipe, all parents want their kids to be fit and strong. With so many technological distractions, however, it can be hard to ignite our kid’s passion for sports. Our article shares some tips on how to up your kids sports participation and how to make physical activity part of your family life.
Why Are Kids Sports Important?
Kids sports, and physical activity in general, are vitally important to promote an all-around healthy lifestyle. Exercise helps ward off preventable diseases, like diabetes and heart disease, in later life. Sports activities for kids can also aid bone and muscle growth and team sports can help them develop discipline and social skills in a way that is enjoyable and organic. On top of this, playing a sport has been shown to improve mood, boost mental development, and increase academic performance.
Despite these overwhelming positives, many parents report that their kids begin to lose interest in sports by around age 13. In fact, 70% of kids who are enrolled early in sports teams or kids sports clubs give up these activities when they reach adolescence. Experts suspect there are a variety of reasons for this, including peer pressure, changing social interests, and body image insecurities.
Don’t give up on sports for kids though! There are a few things you can try to get younger kids interested in sports and to maintain older kid’s sports participation. Here’s what we suggest:
5 Ways to Help Your Kids Love Sports
Set a Good Example
The old adage really is true. Children learn by example. So, set a great example for your kids by participating in sport and physical activity yourself. This can come in many forms – whether you’re a member of a local sports team or you enjoy cycling, running, or swimming. If your child sees you enjoying exercise and sees that fitness is a part of daily life, they will likely make time for it as they get older.
Get to Know Your Child
Everyone is different and people (including your kids) get different things out of playing sports. Some kids playing sports will love the competitive team element to games like football or hockey. Meanwhile, other kids will enjoy expressive sports like dance or solo activities like cycling or gymnastics.
Do you find your child waiting at the door in their kit, raring to go before you take them to their sports lesson? Or is it a battle to get them out of the house? If you find the latter, chances are this sport is not going to motivate your child long term.
Take the Pressure Off
For exercise to become a lifelong habit, it needs to be enjoyable. Some kids are driven to succeed at sports and will love anything high energy. However, a packed schedule of sports activities for kids may make some children feel pressured and lead them to reject sports altogether. If your kids first sports experience becomes a chore, they may feel put off and avoid sports activities in future.
Try not to pressure your kids into being sporty. Instead, try and emphasize the fun or social aspects of physical activity. Get in the habit of taking a walk with your kids or playing imaginative games that involve running, jumping, or climbing. Even if your child loves sports, remember that they need rest days too to give their muscles time to heal and develop.
Watch Sports Together
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s tough to stick to the usual routines of kids sports clubs or after school activities. However, this doesn’t mean you need to disengage from sports altogether. Sometimes watching sports with a parent or as a family can be just as exhilarating as playing it.
If your child has a passion for a particular game, this is something that should be nurtured. Why not allow them to watch games with you or buy them some kids sports clothes in the same colors as their favorite team or players? You can also encourage your kid to read about sports in magazines like sports illustrated kids.
You may be trying to wean your little ones off technology, but interactive kids sports toys, like a Wii Fit, can work wonders for keeping your brood healthy. Alternatively, during lockdown measures, you could try doing a family workout using YouTube videos. A kid-friendly HIIT or dance workout is a great way to get your heart rate up and let your kids blow off steam.
Encouraging kids sports is a great way to ensure your kids build healthy habits for life. So, whether they love activities, or need a little encouragement, it’s well worth putting in the time. We hope our ideas have helped!
Final Call: Do your kids love sports or is it a struggle to get them off the couch? How do you make sport a fun part of your family life? Share your stories in the comments!
Rachel Burns has been writing on topics related to fitness and healthy eating for 2 years now. As a mother, she really appreciates the ease of raising children with her advice.
Rachel specializes in plant-based diets. In addition to nutrition, she is also an exercise enthusiast