Food For Thought
- Is specialization for youth athletes a good thing?
- Not necessarily. Click here for some information on youth sports injuries.
- Are you a model sports parent or a nightmare?
- Deciding whether your child should play football?
Keeping Competition Fun
Developing Healthy Attitudes
Competitions—whether in sporting or academic arenas—offer fun for kids as well as a forum for learning and developing skills. However, if the competition or attitudes toward competition become too intense, fun and learning quickly disappear.
Fun should be the first priority. Especially for younger kids, toss out the scorecard and be ready to adjust the rules to fit the kids' abilities. As children get older, the pressure to win forces some kids to drop out of sports. To keep kids from quitting sports altogether, keep them playing sports they enjoy on some level, even if it is just informally with friends.
Parents should keep the conversation about sports general. Don't focus on their individual performance or achievement. Be encouraging whether the child wins or loses, but keep enthusiasm in check. If you get over-excited when he wins, he may think you will be more disappointed if he loses.
Be a good role model. Kids often pick up an unhealthy attitude toward winning from their parents. Parents need to determine whether something they are saying or doing is promoting the idea of winning at all costs. Look for opportunities to discuss examples of good and bad sportsmanship and competition. When possible, encourage participation in cooperative or noncompetitive activities rather than competitive ones.
Give Your Child a Boost!
- When children hear good things about themselves regularly, their confidence builds and becomes stronger. Being part of a family also makes them feel special, and being able to make strong decisions emphasizes the feeling of uniqueness and confidence. "A Place of Our Own", a production of KCET in Los Angeles, shares tips on boosting your child's self-confidence and improving his/her decision-making skills.
- Talk to children about the origin of their names and help them learn about their culture and heritage. You can explain why you chose each child's name and what it should mean to them. Encourage older family members to talk about their name and its connection to the family's history and traditions.
- For younger children, make a list with each child of the things they can do, such as writing their name, getting dressed by themselves, or tying their shoes. Display this list and add to it as they master new skills.
- Help children create family albums using photos and/or drawings of family members. Add stories and special facts about each person.
- Give children opportunities to make choices. For example, ask your children if they would like juice or milk with their meal.
- Ask children to help you decide what items you will need to prepare a meal and set the table.
- As part of a decision-making exercise, place familiar objects in a bag. Ask children to close their eyes and reach for one of the objects. Can they guess what it is? Ask them how they know.
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