Guest blogger, Carrie, shares her insights in how to parent kids who play sports and the things to consider for them.
Do your kids play sports? Whether they are just starting out playing sports or have been playing for some time, there are some critical factors as parents that we need to consider.
Kids playing sports teaches them so many things. Parenting kids who play sports requires more than just throwing our kids out on a field and saying “go get ‘em tiger!”
The impact of our parenting within sports has a lasting effect on children through their lives. It’s important to ensure that as parents, we think about what lesson we hope to bring to them that will yield positive results.
Examine The Lessons
You need to consider what lessons you are trying to teach your kids when you involve them in sports.
Individual sports require them to be out there alone, trying to win by themselves for themselves. There are valuable lessons in that. It can teach tenacity, self-drive, and self-motivation.
Team sports give kids a sense of being a part of something bigger and greater than themselves. It is often a place to make great friends outside of school. This, alone, teaches relationship-building and communication skills. It also teaches valuable lessons like being an integral part of a group where if you work together, the result is greater than if you work and succeed alone.
Teamwork and cooperation are key to the success of team sports.
A combination of individual sports and team sports would build a well-rounded individual.
Consider Cross Training
The pressure on kids playing sports these days is so much greater than it used to be.
And because of this, kids are often playing only one sport, but playing it all year-round. This constant use of the same muscle groups over and over can put extra wear and tear of muscles and joints at a very young age. This extra wear and tear is causing increased sports injuries in youth sports. Playing different sports in different seasons allows for cross training of different muscles, and therefore decreases wear and tear.
Playing upon this, it also allows for them to experience different sports and find out where their greatest strengths lie. Maybe the sport you wanted them to initially participate in isn’t the one they love the most and therefore aren’t passionate about.
Cheer Them On
Are you out there yelling FOR your kids, or are you yelling AT them?
As a parent, you absolutely need to consider this. You need to be out there cheering them on and not living vicariously through them at this point. This is not your battle. It is theirs. And if you make it your battle, it’s your children who are going to suffer.
My kids are older teens at this point in time, and I have seen the difference this can make time and time again. Believe me, my husband is competitive, and has been on the yelling AT side a few times. However, when he realized it was creating more damaging than good effects, that came to a halt.
Yelling at your kids and berating them has no positive outcomes. It is damaging to children’s self-esteem, self-confidence, and feelings of self-worth.
As they get older, it is embarrassing and can create animosity in them towards that parent.
Furthermore, it creates burn-out. Kids and teens need to be out there working hard for themselves, not because mom or dad is yelling at them from the sidelines.
Growing up trying to succeed to please someone else, rather than because you are having fun or being proud of yourself will eventually create burn-out and the lack of will to play the sport anymore. It ceases to be worthwhile for them.
I beg you to not live vicariously through your children. Cheer them on and be proud of them for working to the best of THEIR abilities.
Your kids and teens need to replenish. And they need to replenish in several ways.
Consider proper nutrition and hydration both before a sport and after. This will allow your kids and teens to feel their best while playing their sport. It will also allow them to perform at their best.
Supporting them the night prior to their sporting event, as well as making sure they replenish their body afterwards show you consider what they do important.
Replenishing nutritional is not the only factor to consider. Physical replenishment is also important. As much as they need a good sleep the night before their sporting event, they need it afterwards, as well. They may need a day of rest more than usual the day of or the day after, as well.
Again, show your support and encourage rest rather than cracking the whip to get practicing. We all need proper nutrition and rest to replenish and perform better, as well as boost our immune system.
Considerations When Parenting Kids Who Play Sports
You as the parent need to recognize you are in a supportive role on this one!
Adults tend to be competitive and want their child to be a super star due to their own drive. As parents, we need to remember that this is an experience about our child.
It’s not FOR us or ABOUT us!
We need to create the best experience we can for our child while teaching them valuable life lessons. It is part of our job to teach them to be proud of themselves for doing their very best and always working their hardest.
We are their to support them in ways that allow them to reach their highest potential with whatever sport they chose to be passionate about.
Be sure to not let our passion for the sport override theirs.
Parenting kids who play sports comes with great responsibilities. Be passionate in supporting them!
Until next time, be your Best YOU,
Carrie is a life-long advocate for health and wellness. A Gluten-free physical therapist mom boss of four, Carrie knows what work/life balance is all about and maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the midst of the chaos. Follow her journey on her Instagram here.
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