Some kids take to youth sports right away, but others take some time to warm up to it. Here are some tips to consider if your child is hesitant about playing in youth sports:
- Try to understand the reason behind their hesitation. Some kids simply don’t really like sports, but others may be nervous about being in a game setting, feel self-conscious about their skills, or be unsure what to do when they’re part of team. Talk with your child to learn more about which aspects of the sports are most uncomfortable for them.
- Avoid putting pressure on your child. Let your child take the lead in deciding how involved to get. Some children like playing in practices but find games to be overwhelming. If that’s the case for your child, consider letting them stay on the sidelines for all or part of the first games until they feel ready to take on the new challenge of the games.
- Encourage and support your child to step a little outside their comfort zone. Although you don’t want to put too much pressure on your child, sometimes children do just need a little extra encouragement to try something new. Encourage them to take baby steps, such as just getting out on the field or court for one minute. Chances are, they won’t want to come out once they’re out there, but even if they do, celebrate their progress!
- Remind your child of your unconditional love. Make sure your child knows that you love them and are proud of them, regardless of how much or how well they play. Help them feel secure in your love and support, and this will make them feel more comfortable to take risks the next time.
- Give it time. Kids often come around to sports in their own time. Some kids need a lot of time and patience before they jump fully into sports. Honor your child’s unique timeline, and remind them along the way that you want them to have fun and enjoy their experience of the sport.