How to get your children active – 10 top tips for parents

‘How do I become a better sports parent?’ is a question parents may be asking themselves. For Parents in Sport Week we have created 10 top tips across the three key stages of your child’s sporting development on how you can support them to be the best they can be.
Top 10 tips for parents to engage their children in sport

What activities can you do with your child to get them moving? (2 to 5-year-olds)

1. Wiggle, Weave and Watch. Get your child to hold a scarf, ribbon or something similar with finger and thumb. Get them to weave it around their body, through their legs, behind their backs, swapping hands to music. Then get them to throw it high in the air and watch it float to the ground. Repeat this and get them to listen for the music stopping as their signal to throw. Along with object control skills, this activity also helps children to develop motor skills, imagination and concentration. 

2. Pick Up Packets. Place a beanbag on the floor and encourage your child to pick it up without moving their feet. Each time they succeed, place it further away from their body making the picking up harder. They can try different-sized objects and even try picking up when standing on one foot. This game helps to develop core stability but also, patience, planning and refining their movements. Being able to manipulate an object and having good hand eye coordination helps children to develop independent skills such as dressing, holding cutlery and using pens and pencils.

3. Get a Healthy Movers pack to try out some more of our activities to develop your child’s physical literacy. The Healthy Movers at Home pack is part of our partnership with popular TV show PJ Masks and includes a range of resources for parents and families to ensure children develop their physical literacy at home. Follow characters Catboy, Gekko and Owlette in their quest to lead a healthy active lifestyle and help children to become ‘school ready’.

How to support your child into primary and school sport (5 to 11-year-olds)

4. Be a role model. Physically active parents are more likely to have physically active children. By being active yourself, you are sending a clear sign to your child that being active is a good thing. This doesn’t have to be about sport, but about making some small changes to your everyday life that make you more active.

5. Value physical activity. Recognise that time spent being physically active is time well spent. The two biggest reasons young people give for giving up sport are a lack of time and the pressures of school work. By showing that you see physical activity as a vital part of a balanced lifestyle, you will be giving your child confidence in their ability to manage the different demands on their time.

6. Be active together. The average family with teenagers spends about half an hour a day together, but it’s often spent doing something sedentary like watching TV. Could you make one or two of these times more active, even if it’s just taking a walk together?

How to support your child to the next level of elite sport (11-18-years-old)

7. Facilitate independence by encouraging your child to take responsibility for their preparation (i.e. travel arrangements, competition/training schedule, nutrition, equipment).

8. Try to show non-emotional responses to your child’s performance during matches (i.e. under react to everything). Ensure body language is consistent with pre-match messages – this will help to role model desirable behavior in their future successes and defeats.  Take a look at our Performance Parent resource as part of YST Talent for more information – as part of the week we are offering a 50% discount, just use the code ‘PARENT-50’.

9. Develop a strong relationship with your child’s teacher or mentor at school. Schools are generally proud of the sporting achievements of their students so if they understand the full extent of your child’s training and performance goals, they will be more willing to provide support such as extended homework deadlines.

10. Encourage children to problem solve through reflection (i.e. what did you do well and why? What could you improve upon? What will you do differently next time?) But make sure it is at an appropriate time.

For more information, resources and support on how to be a good sports parent visit https://www.youthsporttrust.org/  

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