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the 6 rules of being a good sports parent

want to be a great sports parent this season? follow these 6 rules

Few things in this world can bring a parent as much joy as watching their little one having fun on the court or field. 🏈🏒🤼‍♀️ You can use the eseo app to find leagues and games for your child near you! And read this list of the 6 rules of being a good sports parent.

It can be challenging to know how to be a good sports parent. When should you let your child quit, or make them stick it out? When should you teach them to be competitive, and when is it better to just enjoy the game? 

If you’re a sports parent in Philadelphia, you can use the eseo app to find other parents in your area. Set up family games, join a kids' sports league, or enjoy active play dates at some of the best parks in the city. 

Keep reading for a few guidelines on how to best support your little athlete.

The 6 Rules of Being a Good Sports Parent

Whether you’re a soccer mom or a hockey dad, these 6 rules will help you support your future quarterback.

1. Model good behavior

If you want your child to learn responsibility, teamwork and sportsmanship, you should start by asking yourself how you’re modeling this behavior in your everyday life. 

Studies show that children learn behavior by imitating the people around them. So, if you support others, practice discipline by keeping a regular exercise routine and maintain a positive attitude in the face of adversity, your child will likely follow suit.

Start by developing an understanding of the things you want your child to learn, and then ask yourself how you can show them why these traits are important, rather than telling them. 

When it comes to sports, in particular, body positivity and neutrality can be critically important to instill at a young age. Studies have found a positive correlation between participation in sports and a positive body image. 

To encourage your child to develop self-esteem and a healthy body image, be sure to model this behavior in your daily life. When you’re hiking with your little ones, be careful not to insult your own fitness level in front of them. When wearing exercise clothing, take care not to voice any negative opinions you might hold about your body image.

In a nutshell, don’t say things about yourself that you wouldn’t say about someone you love. 

2. Get involved

There are plenty of ways to encourage your child to be more active. Getting involved in volunteering, coaching, or just organizing physical activities for your family can help your child to develop a positive association with sports and physical activity. 

If you’re not able to volunteer or coach, simply attending their games, practices or matches with a cheerful, supportive attitude can make a massive difference in how your child enjoys sports.

3. Stay in the moment

We all know that trope of the parent who gets hyper-focused on how their child performs in competitions, so I don’t need to tell you not to do that. But it’s worth mentioning that, for kids, one of the most therapeutic things about playing sports is the feeling of being in the moment. 

Especially for youths and young adults, being in the zone on a field is one of the best ways to beat anxious thoughts. So, to encourage your child, don’t turn sports into a source of anxiety. Focus on the immediate benefits—the exercise, learning transferable skills, and practicing a healthy lifestyle—instead of competitions and scholarships. 

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4. Respect your child’s autonomy

This one can be difficult for some parents, but many professionals believe that children who have more autonomy are better equipped to assess situations, take risks, and manage difficult emotions. 

Rather than forcing a child to partake in something that they don’t feel an attachment to, allow them space to make mistakes and learn the consequences of their actions. This will help them to develop confidence in their own decisions and equip them for a better future. 

5. Celebrate growth, not goals

One of the most important things children can learn from sports is how to separate their ego from their successes and failures. We can encourage this by fostering a growth mindset when it comes to sports. 

Instead of only praising your child when they do well, try encouraging their resilience and ability to overcome obstacles. So when your child takes a shot at the net and misses, make a positive comment about how well they recovered and persevered through the game. 

This will encourage a positive association with failure, growth and the effort it takes to improve. 

6. Open a conversation 

Sports teach children confidence and competence, and if you open up a dialogue about how they would like to be supported, you may be surprised by their answer. 

At the end of the day, all children have unique needs. So it’s a good idea to keep these rules in mind while also considering the individual circumstances of your child and family dynamic. 

Be a Good Sports Parent This Summer

That concludes our list of the 6 rules of being a good sports parent. There are many ways to support your child and we hope this list helps you find a system that works for your unique family.

If you want to meet other sports parents in the Philadelphia area, try using the eseo app. We’re creating an accessible, inclusive community of athletes and sports fans in Greater Philly and we would love to have you on our team! 

Whether you’re a social pickleballer or a competitive marathon runner, you’ll find people to play with (or against 😉) on eseo.

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want to be a great sports parent this season? follow these 6 rules