For most parents, studies remain the top priority in their preteens’ daily schedule. They constantly focus on how their child should spend most hours of the day, learning through books and building on his knowledge bank. What they fail to realise is that sports form an equally important part of their preteen’s life.
For children, preteen years should include a sufficient time dedicated to indulging in physical activities. And there is no better way to promote outdoor activities than sports. Aside than keeping the child fit, sports help in building a team spirit, coping with loss or victories and socialising.
Tips to Encourage Preteens to take Interest in Sports
- Rather than pushing your teen to try a particular sport, let him explore some options. If you liked cricket when you were a kid, it does not necessarily mean that he will like it too. Let him try different sports and pick the one that interests him the most.
- Sports are fun when it’s a team work. If your child doesn’t have too many friends and you are still not sure about putting him into a structured activity, try and start playing with him first. Once you see that he is interested enough and wants to know more, you can take a step forward and get a team organised for him or make him join a professional sport class.
- Sometimes, it could be productive to ask your child to watch sports on TV with you as it help in educating and motivating children to take up and practice a sport of their liking.
- Once your child has agreed upon learning a sport, encourage his small efforts. Notice the steps he takes on improving himself and then praise him. Compliment him by saying things like, ‘I liked the way you won the game’ or ‘I enjoyed seeing your efforts and improvements, even if you’ve lost one match’ etc. Such inspirational words keep children motivated and they want to keep on proving that they can achieve much more.
What If the Preteen Doesn’t Want to Play Any Sport?
There are many children, who do not develop an interest in sports even after your constant nudging and efforts. There can be many reasons behind this. Some of them may include:
- He does not have enough fun
- He gets bored with the game easily
- He does not like the other children he plays with or the coach
- He finds the training exercises too hard
- He is not able to cope with the pressure
Parents need to know that it is alright for some children to not be interested in sports. This does not imply that they are not competitive or incapable of doing something. It just means that their interest lies somewhere else. In such cases, you can try other exercise alternatives that may be fun. These options will not only keep him entertained, but also ensure that they stay fit as a fiddle.
Ideas to Engage Your Preteen in Other Physical Activities
- You can conduct weekend bush walking trips with the group of friends he likes to hang around with or go out as a family for the same
- Have him join fitness classes like Zumba, Boxing, Aerobics, Tai Chi, Yoga or Pilates
- Take him for swimming or rollerblading class
So, open up your preteen to different activities that will help him stay active. The idea is to help him understand the benefits of a healthy body and thereby, follow a regime that keeps him fit. You can give him options, but let him decide how he wants to follow a daily exercising routine.