If you are like me and sports haven’t played a major role in your life, you might be having challenges figuring out how to raise active kids. Encouraging sports doesn’t always come naturally to a lot of us who are “rather curl up on the couch with a book” types, but when asked if we want our kids to be active for life, of course, the answer is an emphatic yes! So, here are my top tips for non-sporty parents to get you and your kids started down the road to physical literacy.
- You are probably sportier than you think. Do you walk, do yoga, garden? Can you remember what activities you enjoyed as a kid? Even if you weren’t a team sports guy or gal chances are that you liked something, maybe dance, karate, swimming, wall ball, or skipping?
- See it as a growth opportunity. Maybe you’ve looked at yourself one way all your life but it’s never too late to change your own perceptions.
- Introduce them to lots of different activities. Something’s got to stick! Your kids may or may not gravitate to team sports, especially when they are little, but you can help them find an activity they like that will give them confidence to try more and more.
- Encourage their interests. Sometimes catching the wave of enthusiasm can be a tricky manoeuvre. Pay close attention and be ready to jump in when they perk up at a certain activity, sport or game.
- Read kids books on sports with your children, or watch kids movies about sports. Do you have a little reader? Find some sports-themed books to stir their interest. And check out our list of 10 sports movies to watch with kids.
- Appoint someone as your kids’ “sports godparents”. Do you have a friend or family member that loves to toss the ball around or shoot hoops? Ask them to spend some time with your children; they’ll all probably end up having a blast!
- Start a group of like-minded non-sporty parents. You might be surprised how many of your friends feel the same way you do. Make a date with another family to go bowling, skating or for a group hike.
- Make a game out of it! Have all the family members earn “Physical Activity Points”: i.e., 10 points for walking to school, 15 points for biking, 20 points for dance class, 20 points for mom’s spin class etc. Then reward the family with a group outing somewhere fun on the weekend if the family achieved its goal.
- Set a good example. Spend some time each day walking, biking, etc. Just focus on being active and let your kids see you doing it.
- Don’t stress about it. Physical activity is about having fun and being healthy; don’t let this become another item on your “ways I’m failing as a parent” list.
And remember, knowledge is power. Equip yourself with the information you need to help your kids be successful in sports. You’ll find great information and tips by looking around Active for Life.
Do you have any other tips to share? We’d love to hear from you!