Does your child participate in team sports, either with school or with a Parks and Recreation league? Team sports can be a great developmental milestone for children of all ages. It allows them the experience of working as a team, gives them regular exercise and teaches them about morale and being a good sport.
There are many great advantages to children playing sports and most parents will agree with this. However, did you know that your role as a parent is equally important when it comes to team sports?
There are different tasks the parent holds when it comes to team sports but one of the most important is to be a good role model. Before you consider anything else, become aware of this and make it a goal to present yourself as a good role model at all times.
What are some ways to do this? First, you should be a good sport for the team. Cheer for them, clap and root them on at games. Show up to every game possible and if you absolutely can’t make it, have someone video tape it or make time to sit and talk with your child about it. Show a general interest in practices, games and other events.
Next, remember your attitude when it comes to the other teams. Never bad mouth the other team or players or coaches on your child’s team or opposing teams. True problems should be handled privately and between adults. Never accuse another team of being “cheaters” or call them bad names in front of your child. You should be an example of what it means to be a good sport- win or lose. Additionally, you should never gloat about a win and should always give a “good game” to the opposing team.
Other ways you can be supportive of your child’s participation in sports is to show up on time for practices and games. The other team members are counting on your child and it’s your job to show that you are dedicated as well as your child.
Never talk about other children on the team negatively and discourage your child from teasing or bullying of teammates. Helping your child become a kind, confident and dependable team mate is something that they will keep for the rest of their lives- both in and out of sports.
Another problem that some well-meaning parents have is that they take children’s sports too seriously. Ultimately, it’s about fun and health for the child, not big wins for the parents. Every proud parent wants their child’s team to win or their child to be a superstar but these good intentions can get out of hand.
For example, children who become ball hogs or attention-seekers are rarely taken well by other team members. Parents who argue with coaches or refs show poor sportsmanship. These are all ways that you can be a good role model for your child.
Sports are a healthy activity for children of all ages and skill levels. Even a child who doesn’t consider himself to be good at sports should be encouraged to at least try. Sports should never be forced or demanded on children but they should always be encouraged and supported. With your help, your child can form a lifelong relationship with sports that will help them in many areas of life.