It can be really frustrating to see your children glued to their games, phones or other devices. As a parent, you’ve probably encouraged them to get outside more and ‘enjoy the fresh air’, but it always falls on deaf ears right? The problem is, a device can be very addictive, particularly if they’re using it for games or social media related purposes. Children (and adults) receive a hit of dopamine each time they pick up their smartphone. This compound is highly addictive and you’re actually competing with that for your child’s attention.
Playing a sport, at any age, can offer so much more than just physical benefits. An advancement in skills can lead to increased confidence, better communication and teamwork. For children, a team sport is a great way to make new friends outside of school and learn how to interact with children outside their typical peer group. Of course, it’s also an ideal way to reduce their screen-time and replace it with something fulfilling. Here are some things to consider:
Know When You’re Fighting a Losing Battle
There is little point in trying to push your child into a sport they have no interest in or even dislike. Just because you loved football, golf or tennis in your youth, does not mean your children will. There are so many different sports out there, for children who are not naturally into sports, it’s about finding an alternative that fits with them. Children who enjoy creative activities like arts and crafts might do well in a creative physical activity such as ballet. Technically not a competitive sport, but with all the same benefits.
Look Outside of Your Immediate Circle
The obvious choices are to involve your child in an after sports club at school or look to the local teams. This might be ideal if you live in a large city with many varied opportunities. However for most you might not be within close distance to out-the-box or lesser explored paths. Ice-skating, skateboarding, indoor surfing. It doesn’t have to be netball, football or the local boxing club. Could you make a further trip at the weekend, or one night a week if it meant finding something your child is truly passionate about?
Offer to Get Involved
Okay, so we’re not suggesting you join the club with them! However, be on hand to offer lifts to lessons, training or competitions. Show your support from day one and make it clear what you can and can’t commit. Horse riding lessons might be off the cards due to funds, or ice-skating might be out of the question if it’s a 2-hour drive. Be realistic about the options available, but try not to limit your pool too much.
When you’ve cracked the code and finally got your children enjoying more sport, learn to take a step back. Too much pressure is one of the reasons that children tend to leave hobbies they once loved. If a passion becomes a point of anxiety then it’s no longer an attractive past-time. Try not to push your child to the next level unless they want to take it there themselves.