I can’t stress enough the importance of getting children motivated and involved in sports at a young age. With child obesity sky-rocketing it is now more important than ever for parents to instill sports motivation in their children. Not only is it a great exercise to keep them healthy, but it also teaches them discipline and competition.
On top of all that they will probably make some new friends as well and keep out of trouble as they get older. Here are some ways that you can help your child love sports from the age of six months and on into adulthood.
Even Babies Can Play Sports
Even at the age of six months, you can give your child sports motivation and the desire to play sports later in life. Look at what Tiger Woods’ father did for him at such a young age.
One good activity to start with is playing with balls. The ball should be very soft, but try to avoid foam balls, babies have a habit of chewing off small chunks of the foam and this could be a choking hazard. Start by rolling the ball to your baby and encourage him or her to roll it back to you. After your baby has this mastered you can try to teach him or her to throw the ball to you.
As your baby becomes a toddler you can teach him or her to catch the ball. Show your child how to place their arms out in front of them, hands open and flat, then gently toss the ball to them. It will take a lot of your patience to teach this skill, but don’t worry, toddlers usually only get discouraged if their parents do.
Keep the game fun and full of praise, no matter how athletic your child is or isn’t. Athletic ability can be learned to an extent so it is best to start at a young age and keep the practice consistent. Tiger Woods had a lot of natural ability and motivation for a child, but without his mother and father’s time and encouragement I doubt he would be as successful, talented, and as motivated as he is today.
Many parents worry that if they lavish too much praise on their child then the kid will get a false sense of accomplishment. In some ways, this might be true, but praise is the biggest key to giving your child sports motivation. If a child knows that they will get praise for doing well at a sport then they will love to do it, especially at a young age.
Make your praise appropriate to the situation for the best sports motivation. If your child struck out at the plate don’t tell them they did a good job, they won’t believe you because they know they didn’t. Your praise will be worthless if they don’t believe you.
Instead say, “That’s okay! You tried your best and you’ll do better next time.” This statement tells the child that it is okay to fail as long as they tried their best and gives them hope for the next time. Give them examples of when that happened to you when you were their age. As you probably know the best way to learn in life is through failure and trying to use what you learned to do better the next time.
It is best to instill this lesson at a young age. This encouragement keeps children from giving up and the motivation necessary to try harder and play better. This is not only the perfect sports motivation but also a great way to prepare a child for life as an adult.
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