Encouraging children who would rather laze in front of their electronic media to be physically active can be a daunting task – but it can be done…
Kids today are living in a world totally different to the one we grew up in.
“Go outside and play” doesn’t mean what it used to if your child has a smartphone or iPad tucked away in their back pocket,
Encouraging children who would rather laze in front of their electronic media to be physically active can be a daunting task – but it can be done. Here’s how:
1. Include them in the decision-making process
Children (even most adults) don’t like to be told what to do. So why would they want to be forced into a game or activity without any buy-in?
Sport should not be equated to teeth brushing or dish washing. It is supposed to be fun, engaging, rewarding. Ask your child what games they like to play with their friends and find similarities in existing sports.
Does your child run a lot with friends? Perhaps a sport like soccer or athletics is for them. Do they climb trees or jungle gyms? Maybe gymnastics or dance is the way to go? Do they prefer to play with toys and problem solve? Maybe cricket or karate could be right up their alley.
Whatever sport they play, if they have ownership in the decision, they are more likely to persist with it in the long run.
2. Be flexible
Just because they have chosen a sport, does not mean they must stick with it for life. A child’s mind is bound to (and allowed) change – and, you should be understanding of these changes.
Of course, the first sign of struggle should not cause your child to abandon their chosen sport (after all, defeat and heartache builds character) but forcing your child to spend years participating in a sport that they hate will only lead to resentment and disappointment.
3. Get involved
We get it: You work hard, your weekends are sacred and that weeknight dinner won’t cook itself. Life is hectic but your child needs a role model.
If you want them to enjoy sports, then dust off those boots, pick up that bat and play with them!
The memories you create in your back garden, on the beach or in the park will stay with your child forever. They will associate playing sport with the love of family and will likely continue the legacy when they have kids of their own. And who knows, you might even shed a few centimeters off your own waistline.
Article by Keri Byron, Sports Coordinator Crawford North Coast