Mom in Training: Three Ways to Encourage Your Child to Play Sports

November 30, 2014

Three Ways to Encourage Your Child to Play Sports

Nearly all children can become interested in playing at least one sport if they are properly encouraged. No one wants to become the stereotypical parent pushing their child into sports, but with the right kind of encouragement, most children come to enjoy the many social and health benefits of athletics. Here are three suggestions on how to gently guide your child towards playing sports:

Start Early
Children are more likely to take an interest in sports if they are exposed to organized athletics at a young age. That means seeing to it that your children are aware of sports teams in a positive way early in life. One way to encourage that is to buy them clothing bearing sports logos. If you know of any little kids who would enjoy sports apparel, then you can shop now to help raise their athletic awareness.

Put Their Interests First
There is almost certainly a sport your child would like to play, but it may not be the one you would personally most like them to play. It may be you always imagined your son or daughter playing basketball, but instead they would rather play soccer. Respect their choices, and encourage them to play the sports they like. They will be better athletes if they are self-motivated.

Respect the Whole Individual
All kids, like all adults, are unique individuals who have their own likes and preferences. Some children like to read or engage in more passive activities than others, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, everyone benefits from physical activity and interaction with others, so even the most bookish or shy child can benefit from playing on an athletic team. They are much more likely to do so if you don't do anything to suggest negative value judgements about the non-athletic activities they enjoy.

Creating a positive, low pressure environment that encourages athletics is the best way to guide your children towards playing sports. Starting early and respecting their interests is what encourages voluntary sports participation. Remember, when a child wants to participate on their own, in the sport of their choice, they will do better and get a more positive experience out of it.

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