Your children don’t have to show a natural sporty inclination or train like future Olympians to reap the benefits of sport. Here are a few ways to encourage your children to play, make them feel confident about their sporting abilities and turn sport into a fun, family affair…

Make sure your children have access to basic sporting equipment at home. A soccer ball, tennis balls and tennis-set bats are inexpensive enough to start with. You could take it a step further and set up mini soccer goal posts, install a swing ball set or hang a basketball/netball hoop.

Take the time to play sports with your children. Invite your children to kick a soccer ball in the yard or shoot a few hoops before supper. Keep the focus off the score and on the fun!

Make fun, family sports dates. Saturday or Sunday afternoons could become a regular games day. Meet up with extended family in a local park or a garden, set up a picnic lunch and spend an afternoon playing. Make it exciting by introducing a new sport or game each week.

Cheer them on, regardless of the score. If you child shows improvement on the sports field or while playing sport at home, compliment them. When possible, attend their school sporting events, cheer them on, congratulate them when they win and have some words of encouragement when they lose. Essentially you’ll be showing your children how to graciously accept both the wins and the defeats.

As parents you are the most influential role models your children have so go on, be a good sport!

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