Positive Parenting and Sports

How to  Take Advantage of the Teaching
Moments Sports Can Offer

Young Soccer PlayerWhile getting your children involved in sports is definitely a great move for them physically, there's a lot more that you and your child can get out of their involvement in sports. Sports involvement is definitely a great way to combat the rise of obesity in America today, but even more important are some of the incredible life lessons that sports and positive parenting can bring home to your child. Allowing your child to get involved in a sport opens the door for them to learn some important lessons. Of course, it's up to you as a parent to help kids apply the lessons they learn playing sports to other areas of life. Don't let these teaching moments slip by you. Here are just a few of the lessons that you can bring home to your child through their involvement in sports.

Lesson #1 – The Strength of Working as a Team

One of the most important lessons that kids can learn when involved in sports is the strength of working as a team. Playing a sport allows kids to learn about setting team goals, team cooperation to achieve goals, how to take turns, and more. This helps kids develop socially and emotionally, and can help them prepare for times later in life where working as a team will be important. This type of development is important to how your child ends up working with others in their life, such as teachers, friends, family, and even classmates. Don't let this opportunity get by you. Find ways at home that you can continue to encourage teamwork. You can bring this home by getting kids involved in tasks at home, explaining how every person in the family is part of a team playing towards the goal of a clean home.

Lesson #2 – Everyone Brings Something to the Game

Another important lesson you can teach your child through sports is that everyone brings something to the game. Not every child performs each task well within a team. One may be great at running the bases, another great at catching, while another is excellent at strategy. Kids need to learn that while others may be better at one task than they are, everyone has something unique that they bring to the game. This is a lesson that can help your child develop more confidence and self esteem. Don't allow your child to focus on the weaknesses of others, but help them look at the strengths of others. This will help them to realize that while they have shortcomings of their own, they also have skills that come naturally and areas where they excel. As they grow older, it will be important that they are able to be confident in what they bring to the table, whether it's at school or later on the job.

Lesson #3 – Practice Brings Results

Kids need to learn that practice brings results, and sports is one of the best ways to teach your child this lesson. When playing a sport, kids must realize that in order to perfect a skill, they have to practice again and again. As they see improvement, this personal achievement can help them to develop a better self image. With a bit of guidance from you, your kids can learn that this is a lesson that can be applied to anything in life they want to achieve. Explain to your child why they need to practice and how this practice will help them to achieve their end goal.

Lesson #4 – How to Handle Constructive Criticism

Something that is often difficult for kids to handle is criticism. A good coach is going to give them some constructive feedback from time to time. While this is not always easy, you can help your child to learn an important lesson here – how to handle constructive criticism. Just because they are given some feedback on how they can improve doesn't mean they have failed, and this is something you need to communicate with your child. When kids learn this lesson, they'll be more receptive to feedback and advice from others through their life. Just make sure that you as a parent are not constantly tearing apart your child's game and criticizing how they do. Allow their coach to offer feedback. You're there to offer praise and support.

Lesson #5 – Grace When Winning

It's important that kids learn about grace when winning. When they win a game, it's easy for kids to try to rub it in the face of the opposing team, which is definitely not the attitude you want your child to learn in life. Use these winning moments to teach your child how to gracefully win. Sure, they can be excited that they win, but they still need to have good sportsmanship, being kind to the other team. No one likes someone who is always boasting and shoving their wins in the other person's face. When you teach them to win with grace, you'll teach them a valuable lesson that will be helpful later in life as well.

Lesson #6 – Losing the Right Way

Of course, your child probably won't end up winning every game, which is where another life lesson comes into play. Kids need to learn to lose the right way as well. It is easy for kids to have a bad attitude when they lose or to even try to blame others for the loss. You can use these moments to teach your child how to accept a loss. Teach them to congratulate others when they win and instead of criticizing, try to find ways that they can do better next time. No one will always win in life, but it's what you do with those losses that really will count.

Eight Strategies to Teach Kids How to Handle Disappointment and Lose like a Winner

These are just a few of the teachable moments and important lessons that you can help teach your children as they get involved in sports. Sports can truly provide a great way for you to help your child build their self esteem as well as their character. Don't allow these opportunities to slip away, but find ways that sports and positive parenting can be combined to teach your child lessons that will be important throughout their life.

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