Perspectives on Parenting: Participating in Team Sports

Perspectives on Parenting: Participating in Team SportsMotherhood comes with a host of choices to make about what is best for you, your family, and your child.  We at Alamo City Moms Blog have a variety of moms who want to embrace these choices instead of feeling guilty or judged for them!  We are continuing our series, Perspectives in Parenting, with a look at activities for children.  Does your family participate in team sports, or do you prefer to engage in family play activities?  

To read the other side of this perspective, choosing to play together as a family, you can find Inga’s post here.

Participating in team sports from an early age was never up for debate around our home, it is just a decision of what age is best to start for each child. I was raised in a home where dancing and piano lessons were encouraged, so I didn’t find sports until I was in middle school. Once I found them though, I was hooked. However, my skill level came up short in comparison to many of my teammates’ near-decade of team sports experience.  In comparison to my upbringing, my husband and his siblings practically came out of the womb kicking soccer balls, serving tennis balls, and spiking volleyballs. With two out of three eventually playing at a collegiate level and the other one now coaching at a 5A high school, it’s easy to see the impact team sports made on their lives. I can see evidence of the positive lessons from team sports in all of them as adults – their work ethic, the self-motivation to do their best, and their respect for others. I believe these characteristics begin to take root when children are introduced to team sports when they are young. I could quote study after study of how the introduction to team sports results in increased confidence, has a higher correlation  with academic success and is proven to keep children more fit and fight obesity. However, my personal three reasons why I encourage and support my kids partaking in team sports are different, but just as important:

TO BUILD FAMILY MEMORIES OF SUPPORTING ONE ANOTHER THROUGH WINS & LOSSES

Perspectives in Parenting- Team Sports for KidsThe memories that our family makes attending games together are immense; the thrill of a first goal and the agony of lost games are experienced together. It is these emotional times that help keep a family bonded for life. I want all of my kids to remember having their siblings and parents on the sidelines for their games. I believe it is there, on the sidelines, where we learn the importance of supporting those you love. We have a family rule regarding games. It is okay to be coloring or playing with friends while a sibling is resting on the bench, but as soon as her or she is in the game playing, everyone needs to be focused on cheering for brother or sister.

TO TEACH PERSEVERANCE

There will be one or more seasons where your young one starts to lose interest in a sport. As frustrated as you may feel, you can look at it as an opportunity to lead by example and teach dedication to finishing the season that you all committed to playing. As with everything in a young child’s life, it takes a parent to set the standard. For our family, racing from work to pick up the kids, getting them changed and to practice in 100 degree weather and then home to a (some-what) healthy meal is a major feat! It would be much easier use work or my one-year-old as an excuse. Are there days when I am too tired or busy? Absolutely! But there are more days when I am confident that our dedication will benefit them and these early team experiences will help form them into well-rounded adults.

TO START PREPARING THEM FOR THE REAL WORLD

Perspectives in Parenting- Team Sports at a Young AgeLet’s be honest, as adults, we know that to be successful in nearly every aspect of life, we must learn to effectively work together with people we do not know and who come from different backgrounds. I have seen my young children, through team sports, learn that everyone has their own individual strengths and weaknesses; the child who may be the slowest to the ball could end up being the best goalie on their team.

Most companies, big or small, have something similar to this as part of a value system.  We believe everyone on our team is important and deserves respect for who they are and how they can contribute to our work together.

The importance of respecting authority and that everyone has differences, but you can help bring out the best in one another are some of the important lessons our children are learning on the field as part of a team. So if you are thinking your shy child is destined to sit alone in a cubicle where she won’t really have to interact with other people, then think again! That was me when I graduated college and accepted a job as a computer programmer. I quickly learned the most successful IT professionals have strong communication skills that allow them to work effectively with people around them. Even most programmers’ days are filled with meetings involving marketing, sales, as well as their own diverse team members.

So the next time your child passes the ball to the kid that has never scored before, imagine him as an adult, working superbly with his team member designing The Apple iPhone 27.

Go Team!

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