Encouraging Your Child to Play Sports


Playing a sport gives your school age child an opportunity to develop physically through exercise. It also helps your child make new friends, and learn about teamwork, responsibility, and hard work. Sports are a great way to have your child try something new!

If your child is new to trying sports or has expressed interest in starting one, here are some tips to get started.

Build coordination and muscle development at home

To set your child up for success  in a sport, you can help them build their confidence and skills in their muscle development, coordination, and physical fitness. Moving their body as they run and play while they are toddlers and preschoolers, will build these skills. There is no pressure to get your children into a sport. Some children might not even know they are interested in sports until you try playing some games with them!

Here are some fun games you can both play together and to work on some coordination skills:

  • Rolling a ball back and forth
  • Playing catch
  • Kicking a ball
  • Hopping
  • Skipping
  • Jumping
  • Balancing
  • Climbing
  • Dancing
  • Bouncing a ball
  • Swimming
  • Playing hopscotch
  • Running
  • Learn to ride a bike

Introduce a variety of sports

Pay attention to sports that your child is interested in. Take them to a baseball game or watch a soccer game on TV. Ask them if there is a sport their friends are participating in that they might want to try too. These are some ways to help your child choose a sport to try.  Some kids’ sports organizations will let families attend training sessions, or take one free class to try it out.

Kids can be quick to change their minds, or switch from one activity to the next. If this is the case, you may decide on a family rule that your child needs to finish their season before switching to a new sport. In the meantime, make sure they still go to practice and arrive on time. This is a way children learn to follow through on their commitments. With continued effort, they may even decide they like it better once they have mastered some of the skills through consistent practice. Keep encouraging them, even when you know they may not continue after the season. They are learning the life lesson of the importance of showing up for others who are counting on them, and keeping their word.

Team sports are a great way for children to learn to work together and rely on one another. If one person isn’t there to participate, then the team is not as strong. Responsibility is important to teach children at every age of development. And responsibility helps build confidence in your child. Making sure that your child follows through is very important in helping them have confidence. Confidence comes through practice and is a good way to teach and demonstrate for our children.

Playing a sport is a great way for you and your child to do something new together.

This article is brought to you by Parenting Now Parenting Educators and authors Amanda Bedortha, Claire Davis, and Kalina Glover-Moresi. 

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