Whether you're looking for an activity to get the kids off the couch or a way to boost their self-esteem, sports are a great way to keep them active. However, just because your child might have talent does not mean that they should be playing sports. In fact, there are plenty of other fun alternatives that can help encourage kids and teens in their development as well as give them the chance to make new friends. Here are some ideas for fun activities:
Let kids play with the ball
Let them play with the ball. Yes, you read that right. Let them play with a ball. Don't worry about whether or not it's appropriate for their age group, whether or not they're wearing the right shoes and socks, or even if their parents would allow it. All that matters is that they are having fun and enjoying themselves.
If your child loves to play sports but hasn't found an opportunity to do so yet, there are plenty of things you can do to encourage them to get involved in sports:
- Play catch with your child at home
- Bring them along when playing catch with friends or siblings
Get the whole family involved
One of the best ways to encourage your child to play sports is to involve other family members in the decision-making process. If you’re a parent, there’s no need to feel like you have to become an expert on every sport out there; just ask some questions and get a sense of whether your child would actually enjoy playing that particular sport.
If they say yes and want to continue playing, great. If not, then make sure that they try out another sport until they find one that works for them. This way, you are not the only one who has to go watch games or practices. Everyone can pitch in with this task and make it more enjoyable than being forced into it by parents.
However, don't worry if your kid isn't immediately successful at the new sport. They may have natural athletic talent but lack experience or training yet. Just keep encouraging them along until their skills improve over time...and soon enough everyone will be looking forward instead of back towards those early days when everyone was unsure about what lay ahead.
Make it a family affair
Be sure to keep the pressure off your kids. If you're forcing them to play sports, or if you are pressuring them to watch sports, this could cause them to dislike sports altogether. If they don't want to participate in a particular activity, let them try something else. You can make it fun for the whole family by going together and watching a game or playing some of your own favourite games as a family. Your child may not want to hit the ball around with others right away, but he'll eventually come around.
Introduce your kids to sports that you enjoy
You can encourage your children to participate in sports by showing them you enjoy the sport. Show them how much fun it is and how hard you work at it. Also, let them see you having fun with other people and competing for a win. Remember to let them see when you win and when you lose, too.
Let them own their decision
The best way to encourage kids to play sports is to let them own their decision. You can foster an environment of independence by letting your child make the choice about which sport they want to play.
Don't force them into a certain sport if they don't want to do it, but be open and available so that if your child wants help finding a team or joining one, you're there for them.
Ultimately, your role is as an accessible resource—not an authority figure who makes all the decisions for your child.
With these tips, you can help your child develop a passion for sports. If your child loves soccer and they want to play on a team, then let them. There are always opportunities to play different sports at different levels. The important thing is that your kids are happy and having fun with what they do.