Identify who your child will most likely listen to
“More often than not, parents tend to hover too much,” Coach Patrick mentions from his observation of the parents of the children he trains. As parents, we want our kids to listen to us easily because we spend so much of our time trying to nurture them. In that light, not all children will instantly listen to their parents, especially when it’s about the expertise that parents are not masters of.
Coach Vanessa notices this from the children she trains. In her observation, some children listen to her as a coach during training rather than their parents. We, as parents, have to let the experts do what they are meant to do for our kids.
Coach Patrick suggests for children to have a coach—whether the parent to start with or hiring an actual coach. Just like in education, it’s similar to getting a tutor to guide your child. Justin might be young to have a concrete training program to start with, but I let him also train with my coach at least twice a week. From that experience, what I notice is that Justin enjoys the activities more since that he sees them as playtime rather than a chore mandated by me.
Provide only positive feedback and a lot of encouragement
As adults, we can accept critique because of our vast experiences; children, with their innocence, haven’t harbored that trait yet. Providing positive feedback is the way for them to cultivate their behavioral patterns and embrace them in the long run.
Positive feedback also makes children acknowledge appropriate behavior. For children, they remember things more when they have a positive memory associated with their actions. That’s what I also noticed with Justin—he tends to repeat doing things when he gets acknowledged from those.
It’s also the same when introducing sports. Encouraging them is a way to entice them to do sports and love doing it for a long time. Coach Vanessa advised this as she notices children start to lose interest when they are not acknowledged or undergo extreme pressure. It’s even ideal to take a step back when your child does not want to do an activity anymore. Similar to adults, children can also experience burning out and sports can become a negative experience.
Coach Patrick even advised not to overthink. As sports for Justin’s age looks more like playtime than an actual training session, the priority for him is to make it fun. Providing positive feedback and a lot of encouragement will cement his perception that sports is a way for him to enjoy what it has to offer. Justin has the rest of his life to discover more complicated parts of sports such as discipline or following the rules down to a tee.
As much as I would aspire Justin to do the sports that I’m currently doing, it’s more important to let him discover the sports he would like to do and enjoy it on his own. Consulting Coaches Patrick and Vanessa helped me identify the ideal approach for Justin to start doing sports even at a young age. Sports can teach children to discover a lot of factors such as independence, patience, respect, and social skills—in a fun and less authoritative way.