You’re probably already aware that sport participation can promote healthy child development. But what you might not realize is that as a parent you play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and success of your child’s sport experience.
This informative video by “Healthy Sports 4 All” covers everything you need to know, from what to look for in a supportive coach to sport parenting how-tos. Whether you watch the full video or just read our summary below, we hope you’ll walk away feeling more confident about your role in your child’s development. Just remember, regardless of your child’s aspirations in sport, an active start begins at home with lots of time for play!
5 principles for finding a coach who supports healthy child development
- Is the coach a caring adult? A positive and supportive relationship with an adult helps children develop social skills and feel safe, both physically and emotionally. A good coach is welcoming to everyone, regardless of their diversity and uniqueness.
- Does the coach help the children make friends? Friends help children understand a world outside of their neighbourhood and family. They offer support, healthy criticism, and are a big part of what makes sport so fun.
- Does the coach allow for structured and unstructured play? Children learn through play and a good coach allows time for children to shape their own environment, use their imagination, and develop a variety of skills through different activities.
- Does the coach create opportunities for mastery? Mastery is a feeling of getting better at something and it’s important for children to have that feeling. A good coach provides opportunities for them to participate at their own skill level and have success. The coach also ensures proper sizing of equipment and that rules and activities are developmentally appropriate.
- Does the coach promote participation? Fun comes from doing things and a good coach helps children participate at their own comfort level and make informed choices. Activities should have children moving, interested, and motivated to be there.
Tips to avoid sport parenting pitfalls
It’s important to identify and avoid being the pushy parent who takes the fun out of sport and hurts child development.
- Focus on what your child is learning and encourage them to practice for personal improvement.
- Talk to your child about managing their emotions and turn every loss into a teachable moment. Children ages 6 to 12 are developing confidence and resilience and you can help them learn how to deal with setbacks in a positive way.
- Let the coaches and referees do their jobs and children will notice and model how you treat leaders in sport.
- Instead of over-scheduling your child in sport, playing at home can create wonderful family memories.
Learn more about High Five and healthy child development in sport and recreation.