Not all kids are going to be a natural at sports. Take me, for example. I was a clumsy netballer and a terrible tennis player, but none of that bothered me (or my teammates… I hope!). I simply loved being part of a team, and relished the routine of getting ready to hit the court on Saturday mornings.
Encouraging your kids to join a sport is an important step in raising active, engaged little people. Take them along to watch a few Saturday morning games in your area so they’ve got an idea about what goes on. Remember, it’s all about getting involved and having fun!
Here are a few things to consider:
Take some time to get to know the coach. What’s their style? Is there an emphasis on fairness, teamwork and fun, or is it more about developing elite players and winning each game? Think about how the coaching style is likely to affect your child. Will it encourage or discourage them? Build confidence or have a negative impact on their self esteem?
This is a big factor for many families, especially if you have a few children. It’s not cheap to take part in a sport. You have to take into account the lessons, uniform, fees, equipment and travel to and from games. Your kids don’t need to be involved in this side of things, but you should be aware of the costs before you encourage them to participate so that it doesn’t become an issue down the road.
It’s important to find a sport that’s appropriate for your child’s age. Toddlers will get more out of fun, unstructured activities such as running, climbing, throwing and jumping. It might be a little too early for competitive sport, but you can definitely start developing their coordination skills at this stage. From the age of around six upwards, children will begin to enjoy activities like Little Athletics, gymnastics and tennis. Once they hit the teenage years, look for sports with complex strategies that help them to problem solve and hone their fine motor skills, such as basketball, volleyball and hockey
Team or individual?
Speak with your child about what sort of thing they are looking for in a sport. If it’s about making friends and socialising then consider team sports like cricket, hockey or baseball. However, some children might prefer something non-competitive that doesn’t involve a team. Steer them towards ballet, gymnastics, surfing, dance or cycling.
Can you play together as a family?
Individual sports such as rowing, swimming or gymnastics make it hard for the whole family to get involved. If you want to be able to share the fun with your kids, why not try something like tennis, footy, cycling or soccer. Other great sports you can play together include table tennis and badminton.
Don’t forget to label their uniform with our Iron-On Clothing Labels!