In an article at Sport 360 Allistair McCaw outlines ways parents can act as role models for their children, even while standing on the sidelines.
He makes an important point: children are excellent imitators so parents should give them something great to imitate.
Your children will look to you to figure out how to navigate the emotional highs and lows of various wins, losses, and disagreements that come with playing sports.
- Don’t only support your child: Cheer for your child’s teammates and the team as a whole. This teaches kids to be happy for the success of others. You can demonstrate that sports are about collaborative, team efforts. And focusing on the team can take the pressure off your own child.
- Practice good karma: If you have nothing positive to say, don’t say anything. Negative comments simply add stress, pressure, and hostility to the environment. Use positive and constructive criticism that will inspire and encourage your child and his or her teammates.
- Don’t put your child on a pedestal: This shows your child that no matter how talented they are, the greatest quality they can possess is sportsmanship and compassion.
- Applaud the other team too; cheer for any good play : Congratulating the other teams players creates a healthy and happy environment for your child. They learn to be a good winner and loser. Most importantly, it keeps sports in perspective for your child: this is only a game and they are playing it because it’s fun.
- Show gratitude: Make sure to thank everyone, from the parent volunteers and referees, to the coaches.
- Reward effort, not the result : Remember to be proud that your child is healthy, happy, and trying their best. That should make them a winner in every parent’s eyes.