Your child may or may not turn out to be a sporting champion, but there’s nothing stopping you from being a champion parent.
Here are 10 tips to help you be a Best and Fairest Sports Parent.
- Note the small things they do on the field or court such as a knock on, a shepherd or a steal of the ball. It shows you’re watching and paying attention to their efforts. They will appreciate it and realize that they don’t have to pull off the ‘miracle play’ in order to get some praise.
- Display positive body language. When your kid looks over, give them a nod, a wink or thumbs up. You will physically see their confidence and self-belief lift. This is far better than seeing a grumpy parent with arms folded or someone constantly on the phone.
- Before the game fill them with belief and reinforce the good aspects of their team. Don’t fill them with fear by spending 20 minutes talking about how outstanding the other team is.
- Model good sportsmanship. No matter what the end score – say well done to the opposition and umpires when they walk past.
- Cheer, but don’t get carried away (and never cheer the oppositions mistakes). Also cheer for the other kids in the team, not just yours.
- Be patient. Understand that even the world’s best players make ridiculous ‘clangers’…and so will your child.
- Greet them with a smile and a hug before you start any post game analysis.
- Praise appropriately. Your child will not be outstanding in every game; no one is. When they have a down game acknowledge it with a smile and a cuddle and encourage them to get ‘straight back on the horse’.
- Be helpful. Ask your child what they are working on and offer to keep track of how many times they do it. Be a support rather than a coach as they probably already have one of them.
- Keep it simple. If you’re lucky enough for them to come to you for advice, give them one piece at a time. Don’t take the opportunity to point out 10 things they can do better. Just give them your best one and they will be far more likely to return for more.