The importance of sports for young people is well-known, but the key is to motivate them to get moving. Far from being easy, this task often falls to parents. Finding an activity where the child feels comfortable and confident is important since forcing them to do so is not the solution.
The importance of moving
Taking part in sports or physical activity during adolescence plays a vital role in boosting self-esteem. Active young people are less likely to be influenced and discouraged by the challenges and obstacles they face. Moreover, they're better able to appreciate the importance of healthy lifestyle habits and motivated to keep moving as adults.
The first thing to consider when encouraging teens to get moving is the pleasure they get from a given activity. Whenever possible, let your child choose the activity they prefer or introduce them to several different sports to help them discover their preferences. After all, most interests develop during adolescence.
Of course, praise for physical activity, recognition of effort, and an emphasis on play, cooperation and health are all positive ways of encouraging an active lifestyle.
Parents leading by example
Most of the time, parents are seen as role models by their children, so it's important to pay particular attention to the behaviours the adults adopt regarding exercise, diet and body image, so as not to negatively influence the teenager's perceptions.
Organizing family activities, such as a bike ride, a walk in the woods, or a day on the ski slopes in winter, is a great way to get moving and motivated as a family. It is also the perfect opportunity to set an example!
Managing the pressure to perform
Sometimes, teens are likely to feel pressure from people around them to perform. The pressure doesn't necessarily come from the parents; it may come from the gym teacher or team coach. As an adult, you must be careful not to cause stress or anxiety. Rather, encourage a healthy approach to sports, such as appreciation, praise, encouragement, perseverance, etc., so that your teen always enjoys their experience.
Choosing the right sport
As mentioned above, children need to enjoy their sports to keep them motivated. That's why it's generally necessary to consider a few important factors when choosing an activity, including the child's personality and age. Some prefer individual sports, others team sports, some like combat sports, and others ball sports. The possibilities are endless!
An athlete's inspiration
Whatever your child's sport, there's usually a well-known athlete in that discipline who can serve as a role model and inspiration. A talented and motivated athlete is certainly a positive role model for a young athlete!
It doesn't have to be a well-known person, but someone in the child's circle who leads an active life can also serve as a role model.
Technology is very much a part of our lives. As well as being a source of entertainment, it is also a vast repository of information. Screens are not all bad news, since they can be used for learning, educational games and even movement, in the case of applications or video games developed for this purpose. However, good screen management helps to strike a balance between the use of technology and other daily activities.
According to the Canadian Paediatric Society, children aged 5 to 17 should not exceed 2 hours of screen time per day.
Another interesting fact is that Public Health Canada recommends at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity for children.
Calling all parents! It's time to get outside and get moving with your teens!
Text written in collaboration with Vie de Parents