How To Support Your Child in Sports

I was lucky enough to be at home with my kids yesterday when the Kiwi rowers Lisa Carrington and Cailin Regal won gold on the water, and David Nyika’s bronze in Boxing during the 2020 (but actually 2021) Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. 

What amazing role models these athletes are for the next generation!

Both my husband and I have had the honour of representing New Zealand in International Sports – him in cricket and myself in a lesser-known sport, roller skating (yes, really!)

While, for me, sport was a great way to learn confidence, resilience and coordination, what I took away for life was the friendships made. Girls I skated with in my teens and 20s are still some of my dearest friends. 

As my two little ones begin to explore sports and see what they like and don’t, I’m beginning to think about how I can support them – as my parents did with me. 

I don’t care if they represent their club or their country, the most important part is representing themselves – showing up and showing spirit. 

Ways to be a good role model: 

  1. Introduce your children to sport by playing with them. 

During preschool and primary school, basic skills like running, jumping, kicking and throwing are great basics to enjoy. Make it about fun, not winning. 

  1. Try different sports

Miss Six has tried ballet and Rippa rugby as isn’t keen to continue, but seems to love cricket, swimming and soccer. It’s all about giving things a go and finding their fun. 

  1. Be a present parent

It can be difficult when there’s multiple children in your family or if you and the child’s other parent are separated but try and show your support by watching them play. Don’t get caught up in the performance or the scoreboard. Encourage participation and praise what they did well. 

Pamela McIntosh

Editor, Tots to Teens

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