Have you recently signed up your kids for activities? There are so many options from which to choose — soccer, gymnastics, swimming, lacrosse, softball, hockey. But have you ever wondered why girls drop out of sports as they get older… especially once they reach high school?
The sports team drop out rate is seven times greater than that of boys. Why this happens is still a mystery. Maybe they feel overwhelmed by the size of the school team, number of girls trying out, developing bodies, intensity of the competition…who knows?
In fact, if a girl does not play a sport by the time that she turns eight, she may not ever do so. So, what is a parent to do to motivate them to become active and healthy?
Take your daughter to a sports event
If it’s guys playing, mention that girls can play the same game and ask if she would like to go see a game. Then, follow through by taking her to a game.
Monkey see and monkey do
Play around as much as possible with your daughter in various sport settings. Go to the pool, kick balls, hit balls, hiking, skiing, running, biking and/or shoot hoops for fun.
In the beginning, do not nag about any weight issues
When trying to get her up and moving, talk about your own experience with sports. Set your goal on showing her how much fun sports can be and things you used to do that left you feeling good about yourself.
The explanation of health benefits can come later
Eventually, she will feel and look better than ever. When this happens, you will see a boost in her self-esteem and in her energy level.
Introduce healthy eating habits as early as possible
Regardless of what your daughter is involved in now, always model good eating habits. Mention, but do not nag, how certain foods help various parts of the body and how they make us feel.
Always be your child’s number one fan
Regardless of her physical performance, cheer her on. Think of the all around health benefits as well as emotional balance she is gaining.
Whatever you do, do not over schedule your kids and do not force them to play a sport if they do not want to. There is a big difference in encouraging and “forcing.”