Last post I went through some tips to help get your
shy kid playing sports. Playing sports helps lower stress and inhibitions, ultimately letting kids become more free to get to know other kids (aka make friends!).
Last week I included 7 tips to help get your kid out playing. One of those tips that’s really important is identifying sports that YOUR child is interested in (I also included some suggestions based on your child’s activities and interests. Read the suggestions here)
But starting a program can be tough. There may be some anxiety. So, here are a few more tips to help make the transition smoother:
Find out who else will be playing
Often it is easier for a kid to join a program when they’re with another friend or peer. At the younger ages, where there’s side by side play, there is a level of comfort from being near someone they know.
On the other hand, sometimes a familiar face isn’t a good thing. You know….sometimes your kid needs a fresh start, or needs to be with people that don’t “remember” them as a certain way.
So, finding out who is going to be there from your neighborhood is always a good idea.
Enlist the help of the Coach
Enlisting the help of the Coach doesn’t mean telling the Coach that your son is shy and expecting the coach to know what to do. Often Coaches are volunteers with little to no training. So it’s important to share techniques that have worked with your child. If you’re not sure what the right thing to do is, try with asking them not to single out your child. By the end of each practice you will begin to see a difference.
Another option is to volunteer. Volunteering means that you’ll be working as a Coach, Trainer or Team Manager. For some kids, this can be reassuring since you’ll be on the sidelines. For others, it may be better to be further way.
You’ve followed our advice. You’ve tried everything and then some and now your child’s ready to throw in the towel or won’t set foot on the field. We’ve been there.
Just Two Expectations…
There are only two expectations at the younger ages. To try and to have fun. Don’t criticize. Your kid wasn’t as good as the other kids? That’s ok. There’s a lot of opportunity to get better.
The #1 reason why kids continue to play is because it’s fun. Guess what? If they have fun, then they’ll continue to play. If they continue to play, they’ll get better. Fun = gets better. Gets better = more fun!!!Does that mean you want to tell your kid how it’s going to be awesome and how they’re going to make a million friends and it’s going to be a barrel of laughs? NO! Setting realistic expectations is the way to go, folks.
But in order to have fun, they have to try it. That’s where you, as parents, come in. Be open to trying new things! Embrace change! And reinforce the idea that it’s ok to try new things and not be good at something.
Magical thinking can be your best friend
You know all those beloved stuff animals? Sometimes they can be really helpful. They can teach your kids all kinds of things like reading, assuring them they won’t get sucked down the bathtub drain and other cool things. Sometimes they can pretend that they’re going to start a new sport, or they can have a brief conversation about what they’re worried about. Of course, then your child will help reassure them that they have nothing to fear but fear itself!
Know when to take a day off
If your child’s in hysterics at the thought of playing, try taking a day off. Naturally you don’t want to set the precedent of hysterics = getting what they want. Instead, go to practice, sit out and watch. As a parent, you can reinforce what being on a team means but try to keep it short. Small snippets of info are the way to go and try to refrain from asking more than once if they want to join in the fun.
Know when to walk away
Sometimes it just isn’t the right dynamic or environment. It sucks to lose the money, but in the long run it may be better to stop and try again in a year or so. Pushing a child into doing something that they hate, even though you’re confident that they will change their mind, is a recipe for disaster.