Kids enjoy sports and can learn a lot from them, including the four “ships” —friendship, citizenship, sportsmanship and leadership.
When children play sports, they have a “golden opportunity” to develop a positive self-image. But, this won’t happen if parents don’t do their part. Here are some ideas to help build your child’s self-esteem on and off the playing field:
- Keep it positive. When you find something to criticize, find four other things to praise.
- Instill humor. Help kids laugh at their mistakes.
- Develop team spirit. Help your child think “we,” not “me.”
- Step into your child’s shoes. See the sport through his eyes. Listen and understand his feelings and wants.
- Involve yourself. Volunteer. Ask your child questions. Help her practice at home.
- Notice any and all progress—in both skill and effort.
- Show excitement. Praise enthusiastically in public.
- Praise specifics. Don’t say: “Mary, you’re a good sport.” Say: “I liked the way you shook hands after the game.”
- Offer a good example. Be a good sport yourself.
- Remember to have fun. Fun—not winning—is what’s most important to children.
- Set reasonable expectations. Don’t underestimate what your child can do, or pressure him to do what he can’t.
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