Responsible Sports ~ Encourage and Reinforce Positivity

"You chose the number zero? What made you do that?," I exclaimed. Here I was again placing my adult views on an innocent decision made by an innocent child.

"Mommy, I wanted the number zero," said Kaden. He was given the choice to pick a number, so he felt accomplished and independent in his own right. He searched for the opening of the shirt and poked his head through it. He finagled his arms through their appropriate hole as well, and ran to join his teammates.

I conversed with my family and friends about his number zero. It was just a number, right?! Why was I so consumed by it? Does a number really have meaning? Or do parents put too much emphasis on the silliest details when it comes to sports? I'd like to think I am not one of these parents, but I felt myself falling victim to the many qualms I had once despised about parents and sports. Luckily, I was able to break this vicious cycle and appreciate youth sports for what they are worth.

I'll just get to the point on this one.Twitter Moms teamed up with Liberty Mutual's program to pose the question:

"As a parent, how do you encourage and reinforce the positive aspects of youth sports?"

My answer is simple, sort of:

The way to ENCOURAGE and REINFORCE the positive aspects of youth sports is by...
  • cheering on your child during the game
  • making it a game, even if you are busy
  • making eye contact with your child and giving them a THUMBS UP
  • smiling at them constantly
  • rewarding your child with a treat (ice cream after the game, day at the park, movies, etc.)
  • using phrases like "good job", "way to go", "you can do it", "keep trying", "well done"
  • allowing your child to discover their role on the team
  • keeping your cool during a game
  • giving a pat on the back or high-five after the game ends
  • volunteering to help-out the team in some fashion (make snacks, carpool, etc.)
  • explaining the importance of teamwork
  • suggesting that losing is not always bad, make sure to try harder the next time
  • making sure school work is first, and good grades determine if your child plays or not
I'm sure they're are several ways I could add to this list, but for now I will spare you. The single most important thing you can do for your child is to be an example. Never argue with the referee, another parent, the coach, or even your child's teammates (even though it is quite hard to hold back sometimes). Remember, your child needs a role model, someone they can look up to. Why not be that person?

After all is said, the number zero wasn't so bad after all. It stood for NOTHING TO LOSE in my mind. And this is what a child should feel when they participate in youth sports.

For more information on , visit the Twitter Moms or Liberty Mutual for more detail. Follow the #responsiblesports hashtag on twitter as well.

Please LEAVE A COMMENT about your experience with youth sports or any other valuable information.

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  1. This is a post I can really relate to. My husband and I find that we can be waaaay too competitive when it comes to our kids and sports. My husband still doesn't get the concept of playing just for fun, everyone is a winner. He deeply feels that this teaches a lesson that just isn't real in life. There are always gonna be winners and losers. You bring up a good point, it is important to find a way to win even through your loses. We teach our kids to keep their heads up. Reflect, regroup, and give it your all. If you did your best then you did what you were supposed to do, and for our older kids we teach them to be their own competitor. Forget the opponent, always strive for your personal best, you can't control the opponent, only yourself.

  2. Good points! I think it's important for kids to have fun with sports, instead of it turning into a high-pressure thing.


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