Sports are so great for our kids. They keep our kids active, socializing, learning new skills and life lessons. Unfortunately, some parents take the fun out of sports by not following the list of nine tips I read in Psychology Today by Frank L. Smoll, Ph.D. In fact, if you’re tired of driving to practice and games or meets, try to do the opposite of the nine tips and your kids will be back on the couch in no time!
In an article posted a few years ago in Psychology Today called “Moms and Dads; How to help your son or daughter get the most out of sports” he has a list of nine tips that make a lot of sense:
“There’s no set formula, but the guidelines below are designed to increase the chances of producing favorable results.
Set a good example of an active person
Let kids participate in determining when they are ready for sports.
Give priority to your child’s own interests.
Don’t use sports as a babysitter.
Emphasize the process of enjoyment rather than the product of winning.
Emphasize striving to improve skills rather than comparing oneself with others.
Establish and maintain open lines of communication.
Evaluate your child’s coach.
Don’t live your dreams through your children.”
Of course, he goes into more detail on each point, but the basic list is helpful. For example, if you’re not moving and don’t value exercise like “number one” says, then your kids aren’t going to think it’s of much value to exercise either.
In “number eight on the list,” evaluating the coach, Smoll asks the following questions:
“Parents should talk to the coach, regularly go to games, and occasionally attend a practice. Additionally, they should ask themselves the following questions:
Are the young athletes treated with respect?
Are they being taught?
Are they given a chance to perform?
Are they made to feel what they’re doing is a fun activity?
If not, it may be necessary to find another team for your child.”
The National Alliance for Youth Sports, did a stury and found that around 70 percent of kids in the United States stop playing organized sports by the age of 13 because “it’s just not fun anymore.” We can be one of the major reasons why the fun disappears. If you’re more into than your kids, then chances are they’ll be part of that 70 percent.
What can you do to become a successful sport parent?