Three tips to help your child have fun on a sports team

Baseball, soccer, basketball or dek hockey, you’ve signed up your child to play a sport and you can’t wait to see them play with their teammates. If you’re excited about the idea of seeing your little champ learn a new sport and give it a go with their new friends, keep in mind that this can be something that might stress them out.

Children may be afraid of fitting in with a new group, not being good enough or simply experiencing the stress that comes with facing the unknown. Taking your child to a new sports activity could turn out to be an obstacle course if they do not have a lot of confidence. Here are three tips to help your child have fun playing a team sport.

Listen to their fears

This may seem obvious, but with all the running around that goes with daily life, it’s not always so easy to find the time to sit down with your kid to ask them how they feel.

What are they afraid of? It’s possible that your little one feels they have to be the best, so the idea of failing stresses them out. This kind of pressure can not only come from the parents, but also from their teammates or the coach. Lend them an ear, and don’t hesitate to meet up with the coach and discuss your child and their concerns.

Integrating into a new group to undertake a new activity can be destabilizing for a young person, as it means getting a feel for new rules, guidelines and social customs. One angle you could take is broaching a discussion about the pride people feel after daring to get out of their comfort zone and braving the unknown.

Most importantly, don’t hesitate to congratulate your little champ on their courage for getting out there and doing their best!

Talk to them about the benefits of playing sports

Any athletic activity is good for the body, strengthening the heart, lungs and bones and reducing the risk of illness, all while elevating the mood! The benefits of starting to play sports early will stay with them all their lives. And you can’t beat that!

The benefits of physical activity go well beyond the body, they also prime the mind. Sports help kids do well at school by developing their concentration, getting them more comfortable with change and helping them relax and breathe easier.

Playing sports helps people cope with the disappointment of losing and develops the tools to combat negative thinking! All in all, a few hours of sports have an impact on kids’ bodies and minds that lasts the entire week. Teaching your child that physical activity helps them out in every area of their life can encourage them to want to practice and look forward to the next game.

Above all, remind them it’s just a game

Make sure to take away any pressure. Above all, remind your child that playing sports is all about having fun! This is the most important thing, and you expect nothing more than that from them. If it turns out they don’t enjoy the new sport, explain that you will not punish them or be let down.

When they start out, children may feel that physical activity is an obligation, but the more they practice, the more they will find it fun and exciting. It’s important to remind them that starting out is always a bit destabilizing, but after a couple of weeks, it gets enjoyable. If you play the same sport yourself, tell them you felt the same apprehensions when you started out, yet today you really enjoy playing it.

Learning perseverance is a great skill for the future, but if your child still isn’t having fun after a handful of tries, consider changing to a new sport that suits their personality. Team sports aren’t for everybody. They may in fact be the type that prefers - and even excels - at a solo sport.