Have you ever found yourself having a low-level anxiety on how poor of a job you're doing in supporting your kid's sport? You want to be there, but you have to work, you have tons of deadlines, and that promotion is coming up. Sound familiar?
Whether you're a dad who wants to be more involved in your kid's sport or a mom who wants your husband to be more involved, we've rounded up simple yet powerful tips on how dads can be more involved with their kids' sports WITHOUT being too much.
1. Don’t overdo anything on this list.
Before you read on, I want you to promise me that you won’t overdo any of the stuff I mention here. Kids hate nothing more than a parent breathing down their neck or suffocating them with too much enthusiasm.
You want to be involved, but not too much, to avoid making your child feeling pressured even if you didn't intend to. Don't be a helicopter. There's enough of that in the entire world to that we may have to evacuate them to Mars soon.
But kidding aside, just keep your cool, don’t go over the top, and you’ll be fine.
2. Ask if they want to set a weekly game/practice session with you.
Regular practice is good, but the dynamics between parents and kids make this extra complicated. The important part here is the word “ask”. You gotta ask them first if they want it, otherwise, it’ll feel like another burdensome requirement. You want to keep it light and fun so they will actually love this bonding time.
3. Watch live or TV games with them.
Kids have so much fun when they see their parents get excited over a game. BUT, and this is a big but, never ever take the game too seriously in front of your kid. And don’t say mean things about the players, coach, ref, or anyone for that matter.
This kind of attitude might scare your kid who will start to fear that you’ll also get worked up in their game. Being mean also terrifies your kid and promotes the same behavior and attitude.
Here’s one story from 2015 we can all learn from:
Patrick Cohn was shocked when his then 17-year-old daughter Patti decided to quit competitive tennis, a sport which she had been playing since she was a kid. The problem? Too much pressure from college recruitment and his own dad.
Patrick with his daughters Patti and Paula. Via Today.com
Patrick is apparently a sports psychology expert who helps athletes build mental toughness… turns out his own daughter didn’t like the taste of his medicine.
The good thing [sort of] is Patrick acknowledging his mistake by interviewing his then 9-year-old daughter Paula on how sports parents should behave. Her answer:
“Tell them, ‘Good luck,’ ‘Have fun,’ or ‘It doesn’t matter if you win or lose”.
She adds that parents need to stop screaming on the sidelines because they’re distracting their kids - and as for pre-game pep talk, it’s alright if it’s encouraging and as long as parents don’t “go on and on and on”.
Just be the cool dad who’s having such a great time with his hotdog and soda while watching his kid have fun on the field.
4. You don’t have to be in their every game, but you have to make sure they know that you always care.
Even if you can’t make it on their game, you need to tell and show them that it matters to you and you’re always thinking of them. Say something like, “I’m so sorry that I can’t make it to your game kid, but pop’s always proud of you. Tell me how it goes later, yes?” Something as simple as this will make your kid feel important and excited as well.
5. Buy them sports gears, apparel, or gift items.
Nothing makes a sports kid happier than new kicks or gears. But don’t do this often because you don’t want your kid to grow up a spoiled little brat. Do this only on special occasions such as Christmas, their birthday, graduation, or a particularly good performance.
It’s also great to give sports gifts as rewards for academic achievements to encourage them to keep studying.
6. Tag them in motivational quotes or funny sports memes on social media.
They’re millennials, this is their language. So if you’re on Facebook or Instagram, tagging them on inspirational or funny sports-related posts can be a simple bonding with you. It’ll give you something to talk or laugh about later.
Here’s an example from our Instagram account (if you're not following us yet, do it now!)
View this post on Instagram
Surrender the "ME" for the "WE" ✔✔ ▪ ▪ #basketball #basketballneverstops #basketballislife #basketballtraining #basketballcoach #basketballtrainer #BasketballMom #basketballneverstop #basketballgirl #kozeyosports #kozeyobasketball #kozeyo #basketballquotes #basketballdad #sports #motivation
Now it's your turn:
How do you make sure to stay involved with your kid's sports activities?
Do you face any challenges in this area? Share it with us!