We have all seen bad sports parents; those people who berate their kids for not scoring the winning goal or pushing their children to the point of near-exhaustion. Don’t be a bad sport – focus on encouraging your children the right way in their sporting endeavours. After all, it can take a while getting your kids into sports in the first place, so the last thing you want to do is put them off forever. For good practice, concentrate on the following tips to better support your kids on and off the playing field.
- Encourage your children to play the sports they are interested in. It doesn’t matter if you were an amateur footballer or athlete (or whatever), your kids don’t have to follow the path you went down. Give them the option to choose from whatever sports are available, without making them conform to your expectations.
- Don’t forget that sport is fun. Make it too serious, and your children will stop enjoying what they are doing. Remind them of that fact too. As soon as they start getting over-upset with their performance or if they take out their frustration on other children, it’s time to sit down with them to give them that gentle reminder.
- Encourage healthy habits. To play any sport, your children need to be in a reasonably fit physical form. While you shouldn’t push your children into anything extreme, such as eating green vegetables at every meal or forcing them to do ten laps around the block before breakfast each day, you should still encourage them to care for their own wellbeing. Take a look at these sports snacks for young athletes when you’re choosing what to put in their lunchbox, for example, and ensure your children practice for their sport on a regular basis. Gentle encouragement works better than rigorous enforcement.
- Remember you aren’t the coach. If you’re not an expert in the sport your child partakes in, leave it to the coach to provide training tips. Yes, you can support the coach, but don’t do or say anything that directly counters what your child has been taught, as it will only cause confusion. When your child is on the field, don’t be one of those parents who shouts and swears at the coach, either, whether they make a good decision or not. You are in danger of getting barred from watching, and your child will suffer anxiety and humiliation as a result of your bad behaviour.
- Be a good sport. What you do and say matters to your child, so keep yourself in check. Praise your child for everything they do well, whether they win or lose. Reward them when they pass their potential. Congratulate them on trying their best. Let them own their own success, rather than heaping the praise on yourself. Model good sportsmanship in your chosen sport and be a good example to your kid. In short, don’t be a bad sport, be a good sport, and raise your children in a positive way.