Oscar Wilde once said, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life” and the same could be said true for sports. Life imitates sports and it is through the watching and participation of sports, with our children, that has endless benefits for their well-being and development. Not to be confused with passive participation by sitting on the couch or in the stands watching sports with your children, active participation demonstrates the practical benefits of engaging with your children in this manner. No matter what the sport, the following are 5 benefits of watching sports with your children.
Learning how to lose. Losing gracefully is not always displayed when watching sports, but watching a team lose does provide an excellent opportunity to demonstrate to children exactly how to lose. Congratulating the winner, embracing the failure but learning from the mistakes, are all aspects of learning how to lose. Look for teachable moments of the proper ways to handle lose after a game or match is over. Help them understand the meaning of sportsmanship and how applicable it is in their lives.
Importance of teamwork. A team’s success is dependent on their ability to work together to achieve a common goal. The same can be said for just about anything one does in life. Instilling in children the importance of leveraging their strengths, for the betterment of the team, is a valuable life skill. Point out examples where the team worked together to make a play and challenge your child to do the same.
Doing your best. Although winning is not guaranteed and working with one another is not an exact science, sometimes doing one’s best, makes all the difference. Some children equate doing their best to winning or succeeding but this is not always the case. Sometimes one’s best, just is not good enough, but it does provide a foundation for improvement. Sports can provide plenty of examples of those who strive to do their best regardless if they win or lose – impress upon your children the value of always striving to do their best.
Dedication to a healthy lifestyle. This might not be immediately evident while watching sports but, take the opportunity to stress the importance of eating well, training and practicing. Fostering such habits early on result in a lifetime of healthy behavior. Prepare healthy snacks to eat while watching the game. During intermissions reenact your favorite moments or challenge your child to come up with their own. Success in sports provides tangible proof of the benefits of such a lifestyle.
Bonding time. When all else fails, watching sports with children can actually provide quality bonding time. Engage with your child and encourage them to ask questions about the rules of play and perhaps unlock their own interests in learning something new. Explore sports you are unfamiliar with and draw comparisons of teamwork and perseverance with sports you are more familiar with. But most importantly, value you the time you spend with your children while doing this activity.