Reduced engagement with physical activity has become a major issue with kids (and even adults), and it is partly caused by technology. With the proliferation of smartphones, tablets, video game consoles, TV sets and other electronic gadgets, the growing trend is that more people prefer to spend time glued to their screens over more physical pursuits.
By getting children interested in sports and signing them up for local sports training camps, you are taking steps to change their future behavior for the better. But how do you do it?
Even if there are plenty of sporting facilities and events available in your area, getting kids more excited about playing sports than playing video games can be more of a challenge now than ever before.
Here are a few tips that parents and guardians can follow to get children out the door and onto the pitch, court or any other field of play.
1. Be a role model.
Children learn by example. If the adults in your home spend hours on gadgets, eventually your kids will pick up the same habits.
Instead, aim to get more physically involved. Play with your kids in the backyard or park. Join community sporting events.
Get involved with your company’s fitness program, even without the kids. Your enthusiasm for these activities will still be evident to your kids. You could join a company sports league and invite the entire family to cheer you on, or bring everyone along to active family outings hosted by your organization.
It doesn’t matter what sports or physical activity you sign up for, just that you are getting moving and setting positive examples yourself. The goal is to encourage others to stay active. Make them see that getting into sports can be just as fun as watching a movie or playing a video game.
2. Gather the necessary sporting materials.
Some parents use electronic gadgets as a pacifier to keep the kids busy. They may also give gadgets as gifts on special occasions or provide them so kids are more accepted by their peers.
Keep in mind that while these devices are not necessarily harmful, they have an impact on how they choose to spend their time. Easy access to the latest tablet or video game doesn’t really encourage them to become physically active.
Consider getting your children a football, baseball glove or a bike for their birthday or holidays. Store sports gear in the toy closet. Make it just as easy for them to choose being active as it is to choose being sedentary.
Take note though that you will need to do more than simply handing out these items as gifts. Play catch or shoot hoops together using the sporting equipment they received. By getting more involved, they will look forward to playing sports, whether it is with you, with their friends, or with their classmates at school.
Don’t get discouraged if your kids are not immediately receptive of the sporting goods you give them. It’s possible that the kids may be more interested in other sports, so look into that as well.
3. Sign your children up for sports training.
Encourage your children to play sports at their school or consider youth sports within your local community that they could join after school or during the weekends. Watching and playing with other kids on the field may change your kids’ perception of sports. It shows them that taking part in physical activities is a more fun way to spend time with their friends.
Have your kids shown a strong interest in a particular sport? If they want to develop their skills even further, hire a coach.
Keep in mind, however, that the desire to get better must come from the children themselves. By pushing them aggressively into sports, you may unwittingly turn them off from sport, causing them to abandon the endeavor altogether.
4. Watch sporting events together.
Go out and support your local sports team. Watch live tournaments and sporting festivals with your kids at the nearest stadium or at the community park.
If attending a live sporting event is not a feasible option for your family, watch sports on TV instead. Bond with your kids over being spectators and, over time, they may develop an interest in sports.
While watching TV, before your kids go to bed, or in passing, you can talk about great athletes. Listening to stories about others who worked hard and achieved greatness may get your kids to follow their footsteps.
There are plenty of other ways to get children interested in sports. The objective is to start them young and to do it gradually to make the idea of playing sports a positive one for your kids.
Possessing more than two decades of experience in the leisure and hospitality industry, Tony Kouris joined Zayed Sports City as General Manager in January 2018. With extensive career experience, a value on interpersonal relationships, and strong negotiating experience, he is positioned to support Zayed Sports City’s strategic growth and continue to innovate the site as an internationally recognised sport and entertainment destination.