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How to encourage children that don’t like sports to exercise?

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Team sports can be great to keep kids fit and help them with self-esteem, learning about teamwork and making friends, but sometimes children can be a little reluctant to participate.

Some kids find it difficult to take part in team sports for a variety of reasons. Shyness, fear of not being good enough, or worrying about looking foolish in front of friends are feelings that can all impact your child’s interest in sports.

Kids are still developing basic skills

It isn’t until around the ages of 6 or 7 that kids start to develop the physical skills needed to effectively play sports. One thing you can do to help them is practice: the more your child plays sports with you and friends at home, the more confident he/she will be in a competitive setting. It also means you will spend quality time together!

Your child may enjoy playing sports for the fun of it, but doesn’t want to compete. Listen to your child. He/she may be more likely to enjoy the sport if it’s just played for fun.

Make the right choices when it comes to skill level

Try to assess your child’s skill level when selecting teams or sports. It’s not a good idea to push your child into a sport if he/she isn’t ready. Many sports have beginner level classes, and can be the best place to start when your child is still learning the basics.

Fight or flight

Some kids aren’t natural athletes. It’s important to provide positive encouragement and support from the start so they understand that it’s okay to make mistakes. Learning a sport takes time, and everyone makes mistakes.

Choosing the right activity

Have an open mind when selecting the right sport for your child. Some kids struggle with coordination, so sports like cycling or swimming might be a better option than football or baseball.

Other factors

Many factors impact a child’s ability to participate in sports. They may be overweight, have asthma, or some other health issues that make it difficult for them to keep up. Try to select a sport that is appropriate for your child’s attitude, skill level, and interests. If your child doesn’t enjoy a sport, they won’t want to do it.

When team sports aren’t right

If a team sport isn’t a good fit for your child, here are some individual activities to try:

  • swimming
  • horseback riding
  • dance classes
  • inline skating
  • cycling
  • cheerleading
  • skateboarding
  • hiking
  • golf
  • tennis
  • fencing
  • gymnastics
  • martial arts
  • yoga and other fitness classes
  • running

Be patient

Sometimes finding the right sporting activity can take time and patience. It’s important to find an activity that feels like a hobby and not a chore. The reward of finding the right activity for your child and promoting a healthy lifestyle will be well worth it.