Even individual sports have a foundation of teamwork. As you watch sports like diving and weightlifting, talk about each athlete’s support system. Coaches, physical therapists, assistants and families work together to support an athlete in her endeavors. Team sports require dedication and support from every member of the team. Watch water polo, volleyball and rowing to show kids examples of athletes working together as a unit. Talk about how members of a team give each other opportunities to succeed. When you watch the opening ceremonies, remind your kids that each country attends the Olympics as a team, supporting one another even when competing in different sports or as rivals.
During Olympic coverage, record athlete profiles to watch with your kids. Many short documentaries and profiles show athletes practicing as children. The road to the Olympics is a lifelong journey for young athletes. It’s a journey that comes with sacrifice and triumph. Talk to your children about the value of working toward a goal. The goal itself isn’t as important as what one learns while trying to achieve it. Every Olympian discovers inner-strength while working toward competing at an Olympic level. As you watch, prompt your kids with questions. Can you imagine practicing that much? Would you be nervous performing in front of so many people?
No one was born an Olympic athlete. As you watch the Olympics with your children, discuss the power of practice. Practice and dedication can be applied to any goal. Whether your child wants to be an athlete, a writer or an engineer, you can use the Olympics as a foundation to show that hard work propels you toward your goals. Remind kids that practice isn’t always easy. Practice is work, and it can get repetitive and discouraging. Every Olympian struggled at times and made the choice to devote massive amounts of time to practicing and improving.
While those moments on the podium are inspiring, the grace in competition itself is what kids should focus on. Many Olympians will compete without winning a medal. Stress the importance of meeting personal goals. Talk about the honor of going to the Olympics to represent a nation and show the world a specific sport. This is a great time to talk about losing gracefully and winning gracefully. Regardless of what a child wants to achieve in life, she’ll experience competition. The Olympics take place on a grand scale, but the human experience remains the same.
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