With so many kids glued to their smartphone or computer screens these days, you might have neglected to notice that your own child isn’t nearly as active as you were when you were young. And if you want to raise confident and happy daughters and sons, then you should seriously consider encouraging your kids to get involved with sport. Keep reading to understand why athletics are so important for your child’s wellbeing, and what you can do as a parent to build your child’s confidence.
Tips on How to Build Confidence in Kids
Both girls and boys can drop out of sports as they grow older if they lack a strong self-esteem.
So if you want your child to stay involved in sport regardless of their gender, then the best thing you can do as a parent is to instill in them a sense of confidence. Try out these tips below:
- Let Your Child Make Mistakes: This may seem counterintuitive, but taking risks and failing actually builds confidence. If you don’t let your kid fail, they’ll never have the opportunity to build resilience or learn how to work for something they want
- Kick Gender Stereotypes to the Curb: Girls and boys can both suffer from the influence of rigid gender stereotypes. If your daughter believes she needs to be like a princess, then she may miss the opportunity of becoming an amazing powerlifter. And if your son believes he needs to be aggressive and hyper-masculine, then he may miss out on becoming a world-class gymnast.
- Recognize Their Accomplishments: Praising your child when they’ve accomplished something, no matter how small, builds a sense of self-worth and confidence in their own abilities. It can be too easy to only criticize your child when they do something wrong, but you need to make a conscious decision to give them positive feedback.
- Practice What You Preach: If you want your child to be confident and involved with sport, then model that behaviour yourself! Be active and don’t overly focus on your body. If your child only sees your obsession with dropping the last ten pounds, then they won’t see sport as anything more than a means to achieve a ‘perfect’ physique. In fact, research has demonstrated that much of what holds young girls back from participating in sport is a fear of being judged for what their body looks like. So check out this amazing campaign that encourages all women of every age and size to get active!
The Benefits of Sport for Your Child
In addition, did you know that sport will continue to increase your child’s confidence? Playing a sport will continue to build your child’s self-esteem and their confidence in what their body is capable of. This confidence will follow them throughout their lives and into their careers.
Interestingly, 80% of senior women business leaders were involved in sport in their youth. And many female executives state that being involved in sport benefited their careers by making them more disciplined, resilient, and competitive. So if you’ve always dreamed of your kid managing a Fortune 500 company, then you’ll definitely want to encourage them to stay active and become involved with sport!
And although you’re probably not thinking that far ahead, children involved in sport will have a lower risk of experiencing osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, and mental illness. Plus, they’ll have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight while benefiting from increased stamina, endurance, and flexibility.
Still Skeptical About the Benefits of Sport?
If you’re still on the fence about getting your child involved in sport then just check out this testimonial from Sharon, the owner of sportswomen.ie, and a mother who passionately believes in the benefits of keeping your kids active:
“They say children learn by example. If children see their parents exercising on a regular basis then they will see it as something normal for themselves to do. Exercise and sport is for life. We need healthy food, water, sleep and shelter to survive, and exercise should be part of that equation. Playing sport and exercising gives children confidence that they will carry with them into their adult lives. My kids all play sport because they enjoy it, it keeps them healthy and fit and it also helps them with their studies. In a world where there can be huge pressure on kids to perform, the outlet of exercise can counteract these pressures and make life that bit easier.”
Raising a Strong and Confident Daughter
Although all children could benefit from being more active, girls in particular seem to be falling through the cracks when it comes to their involvement in sport. Only a quarter of secondary school girls participated in regular exercise (compared to half of boys). And this gender divide in sport isn’t random. There are a variety of reasons why we’re seeing fewer girls on the field including:
Hyper-Competitive Atmosphere: It’s undeniable that many coaches and teams can have a ‘win or die’ mentality that leaves many young women less than enthusiastic about playing in what has become a blood sport.
Low Self-Confidence: As girls enter adolescence, their confidence takes a major hit and many young women suffer from chronically low self-esteem into their teenage years. Girls’ low self-esteem makes them more likely to quit sport because they don’t think they’re good enough to play.
No Family Support: If a girl’s family delivers the message that girls are less athletic than boys, or that sport is not a ‘ladylike’ pursuit, then girls will be less likely to continue sports as they grow older. Instead, inspire your daughter by telling her she can do whatever sport she chooses. ‘Always’ has created a brilliant campaign that empowers girls in the world of sport.
Overall, what you need to remember is that there are many things you can do as a parent to increase your child’s confidence. Sport in particular is a powerful tool that can help you raise a strong, happy, and healthy daughter or son.