Signing your child up to play on a sports team is an excellent way to help them develop in a healthy manner. Not only is it a physically healthy activity, but a mentally and emotionally healthy activity as well. Sports help children learn about the importance of following rules and the consequences of breaking them. They teach children how to deal with success and disappointment. They also teach children how to work on a team. Starting a sport for the first time can be nerve-racking for a small child. However, there are a few things you can do to prepare them for it.
Joining a sports team will require your child to dedicate time towards something. Most children aren’t used to the idea of committing to something. Up until this point in your child’s life, they probably haven’t made any commitments at all. Even if it isn’t a serious sports league, joining a sports team should be viewed as a commitment. Talk to your child about how they will need to dedicate time to go to each practice and game. Even if they don’t feel like going one day, they need to keep their commitment to their team.
Ensure They Have the Right Equipment
Showing up to a practice without the right equipment is embarrassing for a child. Without the proper equipment, participating in some sports can be dangerous. For example, a mouthguard will prevent their teeth from chipping or cracking as they play contact sports. Not having the equipment could result in them having to borrow from someone else or having to sit on the sidelines. To avoid this, be sure that you talk to your child’s coach before the first practice. Be sure you understand what equipment the team will provide, and what equipment you need to get yourself.
Teach Them How to Win and How to Lose
Most people start playing a sport with the dream of winning. However, when two teams play, only one can win. While you hope that the winning team will be your kids, it’s inevitable that they will have to deal with losing. It will be important to teach your child that it isn’t appropriate to throw a temper-tantrum when they lose. It’s okay for them to be sad and disappointed, but they need to treat the winning team with respect. On the flip side of the coin, it’s important to teach your child that if they win, they need to be considerate of the feelings of the losing team. Ridiculing the losing team is not proper sportsmanship.
It’s pretty much a given that your child is going to have ups and downs while playing sports. It’s all part of the journey. However, by doing the things mentioned above, your child will be best equipped to deal with those ups and downs in a sporting manner. The only other thing you need to do is be there on the sidelines to cheer them on!
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