Staying active is great for the overall well-being of your kids and getting them hooked on a sport is a surefire way to keep them healthy and happy!
Of course, not every child will develop a lifelong passion for sports and may truly be interested in other activities. But, building the habit of staying active and exercising by introducing them to sports early on will definitely benefit their physical, mental, and emotional health—not to mention how full their hearts and minds will be thanks to the friends and life skills they’ll definitely gather along the way.
So how can you get your kids interested in playing sports? As the mother of four athletic young girls, Georgia Schulze-del Rosario shared with us how she and her husband Armand encouraged her kids to start and continue playing sports. Read on to find out more!
It can all start with something as simple as getting your kids outdoors and being active with them. Georgia says “It is really in outdoor play that you will notice where their strengths as well as their interests lie.” By taking their daughters out on hikes, to go swimming, or to play in the park, Georgia and Armand were able to learn more about what their kids could do and which activities they loved. For the del Rosarios, paying close attention to how their kids played and asking questions like “Do they run fast? Can they kick hard? Catch? Throw?” really got the ball rolling for their girls to pursue sports that interested them.
Being active with your kids is also a great way to show them the sports you’re interested in. Although Georgia’s 14-year-old daughter Nadia developed a love for volleyball all on her own, her two middle children, ten-year-old Sonia and eight-year-old Katia, both play football like their dad and even take weekly tennis lessons with their mom. With her three-year-old Irina who has yet to find her own sport, Georgia still encourages an active lifestyle by bringing her along to the gym and to pilates classes.
The experience with and love for football that Georgia’s husband Armand has also did a lot to get their daughters interested in sports. A former professional football player for the national team, “[Armand’s] passion for sport runs through [our daughters’] veins,” Georgia says, “But more than that, they got to witness it firsthand. That is something you can’t teach through words alone. He showed them through example. He inspired them. I know this because he inspires me as well.”
So by watching and being with their parents out on the field or on the court, Georgia’s daughters got to see firsthand the joys of playing sports and were inspired to try it for themselves. Sharing your own sports interests with your kids and playing with them to help them learn may be exactly what they need to start getting active and to find out which sport really suits them later on.
Making time to show up for trainings and games is also a huge part of encouraging your kids to keep at a sport. Georgia says, “My husband and I take turns going with them to training and almost never miss matches. And when we can’t make it, we make sure to ask them for detailed recaps of how their practice went so they know that we are interested and invested in it with them. I think this makes a difference in morale and makes them ganado.”
This way, even with lazy days, frustrating days, or unbearably hot days, seeing you up in the stands or by the sidelines cheering them on will really help keep your kids motivated. Knowing how much you support them will surely be an instant boost of confidence and inspiration.
It also helps to remind them about what they love most about their sports: Georgia shares, “I’m not going to lie, there are moments wherein they get lazy to train–I mean even I get lazy to hit the gym sometimes. But reminding them of the positives as well as the fun parts helps. My husband is naughty–he bribes them sometimes, but all in good fun!”
Reminding your kids of the rush they feel when competing or of the happiness that comes with being in a team can be great places to start. In fact, these are the del Rosario girls’ favorite parts about playing sports! Georgia says, “I see the excitement in their eyes every time they compete in games and tournaments. I think being able to put their hard work to the test gives them a sense of pride. I also think each and every one of them loves being a part of a team. The camaraderie and feeling like they have this bond with kids that have a similar interest is priceless.”
Most importantly though, you have to remember that what matters most is how your child feels about the sport they’re playing. Support what makes them happy and try not to force or overdo it. “As long as they are happy playing,” Georgia notes, “I’ll do everything I can to keep them in the game. In the end, if they stop finding joy in it, I’ll understand and support whatever they decide.”
It takes a lot of time, sweat, and commitment to play a sport and to play it well. But, all this sacrifice and discipline won’t yield any good unless the sport is something your child really enjoys or looks forward to. Georgia explains that with her daughters, she “wanted them to come to the decision to play on their own [and] always verbalized the importance of going for whatever interests [them].”
So when your kids do decide on a sport that they love, all their hard work will truly be worth it! The sportsmanship and teamwork they develop, the smiles on their faces when they play, and the teammates that become great friends for life are all things that will shape your kids into strong, happy, and well-rounded people. So what are you waiting for? Lace up, hit the field, and cheer your kids on!