The habit of healthy living begins at childhood. This means that the responsibility of ensuring that a child grows to avoid preventable diseases, works well as part of a team, and turns out well-rounded falls on a parent. This is common knowledge, but so is the fact that it can sometimes be difficult to convince a child to take to the playing field and test themselves. This is especially true for my youngest daughter, who is a total perfectionist – I’ve spent a lot of time convincing her to try new things.
Consider the following tips the next time you invite your child to a game of catch:
- Make It Fun
The struggle to capture a child’s attention or interest is far too real. They’re too young to comprehend the health benefits of an athletic hobby, and likely too preoccupied with the latest toy gadgets to give a care about playing outdoors.
One of the strongest tools in a parent’s kit is their knowledge of their children’s likes and dislikes. As such, a popular mistake is to try and approach children with what the parents consider to be fun – especially when it comes to sports. The right approach is a smart approach, where strong connections are made between a sport the child would most likely enjoy and an existing interest. If all else fails, there are clever ways to associate a sport with an interest, such as through designing customized sportswear like the kinds offered at Strideline – to give their gear a personal touch.
- Make Them Feel Like a Pro
Children respond well to inspirational figures and heroes, so introducing them to big names in their sport of choice can be a stepping stone to getting them on the field or court. If a kid responds well to a star athlete, the idea of becoming just as great (with practice and effort!) can be a potential appeal to maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle through playing.
You could also make them feel like an athlete in other ways, from simple things like decking them out in Strideline custom socks patterned after their favorite team to cheering them on in full-force during practice or over the season. Keep them motivated by giving them a sense of accomplishment and never let them feel too far detached from their idols.
- Don’t put too much pressure on them.
As a kid, it’s never fun when you’re told what to do, especially when it comes to how you should use your free time. Being told what you should like is just as unappealing. Your child should play sports, most importantly, because they want to. Not because you missed out on your dream of being an All-Star basketball player, or becoming the next Derek Jeter. Parents should not live vicariously through their children. Putting pressure on them just because you never got to play, or got signed to the majors, should never be a factor.
If you have your child’s best interests at heart, and take an effort to really get to know them, encouraging them to enter into sports will be a much easier feat. Get smart, get creative, and get them to start leading a lifestyle they’ll thank you for in the future.