Sometimes us as parents can become so competitive or passionate about a sport and want our kids to feel the same. It is helpful to remember that kids need encouragement and not criticism. Some kids are motivated by competition and for others, competition is not motivating at all, rather felt as pressure and leading to frustration. Its important as parents that we realize that each child is different, and we find the right way to encourage them.
We are certainly not experts, but strive to be great mommies to our kids.
Many of our kids enjoy an active lifestyle and even have taken on a love of running. Stacey's son (17) runs track for his school and completed his first half marathon in March while Dawn's daughter helped her train for her first marathon. Janell's kids are the biggest cheerleaders at races and her youngest can't wait until she is big enough to go on a long run. Dana's youngest likes to join her in her on night runs and her oldest enjoys cross country. Debi's daughter has run a few 5k's and can't wait to be the youngest 'Girls Run the 901'.
Here are some helpful tips when encouraging our kids to have an active lifestyle:
- Emphasize improved performance, not winning. Positively reinforce improved skills.
- Don't relive your own athletic past through your child.
- Provide a safe environment for training and competition.
- Control your own emotions at games and events. Don't yell at other players, coaches or officials.
- Be a cheerleader for your child and the other children on the team.
- Respect your child's coaches. Communicate openly with them. If you disagree with their approach, discuss it with them.
- Set a good example.
Regular family bike rides and hikes will also show your kids that being active can be fun, and in the long run will make them fitter, healthier and happier adults.