From a young age, most kids are very active. They love to run around the house and play. It’s a lot for many of us to keep up with, especially if we haven’t been particularly active ourselves.
But as they get older, TV and video games slow many down. Sitting around takes the place of active play. As a parent you know you should encourage more activity, but it’s not always easy to decide what to have your kids do.
Have Them Take the Lead
Signing your child up for an activity is an easy way to encourage activity, but it can also be frustrating for kids. Many parents choose activities for their kids based on what they would want to do, not the child’s interests. This can lead to frustration.
Find out what your child would like to try. Don’t limit options to just team sports; there are a lot of alternatives out there. My own children love karate. It’s a good workout, and they progress at their own rates. There’s no guilt for not being the best player on the team.
Don’t stress if they find they don’t like a particular sport or activity. Just agree to try something different next time. Swimming, karate and dancing are all good activities, and don’t have to be done on a competitive level.
Remember That They’re Children
A big mistake many parents make in signing their kids up for activities is forgetting that they’re children. Parents can expect their child to put in unreal amounts of practice in the hopes that they will excel. Some parents have dreams of their kids going into a professional career in whatever sport they’re playing as an activity.
It doesn’t matter what your dreams are for your child, or even if he or she agrees that they want to do their sport professionally. As a parent, it is your job to make sure that they don’t do more than is good for their bodies. That means no over training. That means leaving time for other things in their lives such as playing with friends and relaxing.
Overdoing is a huge mistake. Children can permanently injure their bodies trying too hard in their sports. Their bodies are still growing and really are not ready for intense training.
Don’t be the screaming parent watching your kids either. You’ve probably heard the reports of parents getting into fights at their children’s games. Your job is to encourage your child. You don’t need to do that by yelling at them, their teammates or their competition. You’ll do better to teach good sportsmanship.
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be getting active yourself. It’s better for your health to be active, and you’ll probably have fun.
This is a wonderful, non-materiel gift you can give your children. Participating in an activity creates great memories, which will be remembered for many years. It also helps to create healthy habits.
How involved you get depends on the time you have available. You don’t want to overdo it – kids need to learn how to do things on their own too – but you should be there to help them practice sometimes and as needed to get them to their activity. It also might help you to remember how much fun being physically active can be.