In this day and age of WII , XBOX and play stations, what are the ways to encourage kids to love sports. And by sports, I meant, the real one - sports which can actually make the kids perspire, touch the ball or actually run around and go some actual distance.
Since it was National Sports Holiday in Qatar recently and our Kylie just finished her school's Sports Day before the half-term break, we are so focused into sports. Here goes our recommended ways to encourage kids to love sports. It worked for us well, maybe it will work for other kids.
1. Do not buy WII, XBOX or Playstations. Or if you have already, just get rid of it. Organize a Yard Sale and sell them at great prices. People without kids would love them for sure. Seriously, kids of early age don't need them just yet. Maybe when they reach their teens. But by then they would have been completely passionate about sports already. These electronic gadgets are way overrated, we think. Can't live without them to entertain kids? Yeah, right? WRONG! We live in a desert and we don't own one. There are lots of things to do other than gadgets.
2. Spend time playing outdoors with them. Sports for kids doesn't have to be structured yet. Just get out and play with kids. Run after them. Let them run after you. Kick the ball. Chase the ball. Pass the ball. Shoot the ball. Dodge. Oh, the endless ways to play with kids outdoors.
3. Spend time playing indoors with them. When the heat becomes unbearable outside (or cold, depends on what part of the world you come from!) play indoors. Run around. Chase the ball. Pass the ball. But be careful not to break any furniture and appliances or what the heck! Another skills kids could master, being gentle in sports. If it is too much of a risk to play sports at home, be resourceful in finding an indoor sports club!
4. Cheer! Once in school, encourage them to participate in sports activities.And always make sure to be there for them when they join sports competition. To encourage kids in any activities, we need to spend time with them, parents need to give attention. Cheeeeeerrrrr for them! In all aspects of life, a little cheer goes a long way. It's true in life and very true with kids.
5. Have Fun. Don't force sports to kids. Just show them how fun sports could be and they will start enjoying these activities. Fun is the key word. Discontinue if you don't find the kids enjoying things. They may like other activities, yes, but this does not necessarily mean that they hate other sports.
6. Expose to all form of sports. Don't limit to one type of sports only. Provide opportunity for them to enjoy variety of sports - basketball, volleyball, swimming, athletics, gymnastics and of course, football. Who knows what sports they would really really love. Sometimes we have to say no to the good, to find a YES for the best.
7. Read about sports and famous people in sports. As we have developed already the love for books, it is just fitting to use this love to find another love. Reading stimulate ideas and desire for kids. Keep reading Step-Into-Reading books like Babe Ruth Saves Baseball! (Step into Reading 3) and Baseball's Best: Five True Stories (Step-Into-Reading, Step 5). These books give lots of ideas about sports and how athletes become so successful in life because of sports. And ended up not having to work all their lives because they are doing something they really LOVE. And we all know how most of the athletes are well paid and has a well-rounded life. (well, at least, that's what we intend to believe.)
8. Watch Sports live and in TV. As I have mentioned in our posts about Qatar National Sports Day, we are very lucky that the country supports sports and there are lots of activities in sports that families could participate in. We started watching football since Azkals, the Filipino team was competing. We were a little biased but it was a good start. We'll try to watch more sports in the future and this will not be limited to football. We just can't wait for World Cup 2022 in Qatar! This means lots of sports event leading to that major event. For the mean time, we justify watching TV for movies like Space Jam! That movie is a classic in learning how to love sports, right?
9. Provide role model. Parents should join sports, too. Good for the heart, good for the mind. And great if kids could watch how parents enjoy sports as well. Yes, we did a little bit of this too as the hubby joined the mini-marathon during the Sports Day. Again, fingers crossed, we'll try to join for activities like this and make sure the kids are watching. Monkey see, monkey do. Here's us hoping that we don't consider watching football on TV and other sports as part of participation. As I have said, monkey see, monkey do.
10. Dream. Let the kids imagine themselves as a famous sports personality when they grow up. This would encourage them to practice while there are young. Setting a vision and a dream is never too early.