During Parents in Sport Week 2018, let us acknowledge the vital role that parents and guardians play in influencing their children and young people to get involved in sport.
Parents are important to sport because they can:
- encourage their children to take up, enjoy, and achieve in their sport
- support their children in practical ways – such as by providing transport or buying kit
- become coaches, helpers and volunteers within the club
- provide positive role models for children through their own behaviour
- help out with things such as club websites and fundraising
- support and motivate their child and the team
- reinforce positive aspects of sports participation
- Parents can inspire children to develop and push the boundaries of their ability.
Parents play a critical role in the early stages of a child becoming a young athlete but the impact is felt throughout their sporting career. Parents provide key emotional support – especially in learning how to deal with winning and losing. Children model their behaviour on their parents, learning to enjoy participating in sport and what makes a good sportsperson. Likewise, young people’s behaviour as spectators is based on how their parents react at competitions. Parents also actively help children understand what it means to participate in sport and respond in different situations.
A parent’s role extends from securing access to the right training and coaching, to offering emotional and strategic support pre- and post-competition, as well as being there for the competition itself. In addition to providing funding and transport for training, a parent can help their child get in the right frame of mind to be motivated and focussed before a session. Parents can also help young people reflect on what they’ve learned from the training and identify areas for improvement. In the lead-up to a competition, a parent knows how their child is feeling and can help tailor strategies for coping with crowds and the emotions of the other young athletes. Parents can boost their child’s self-esteem by letting them know they’re looking forward to watching them enjoy their sport and improving on their performance, rather than focussing on winning – this translates into improved spectator behaviour too. A parent can be there for post-event analysis when their child is ready to have that conversation. By engaging in positive discussion, parents can understand what their child wants to achieve, so that both parent and child will better enjoy this involvement in sport
Therefore, to best be involved in your child’s sporting life, talk to your child, understand why they’re participating. Let them know why you want them to enjoy sport. Work out shared goals, which will lead to a shared understanding about what their sport means to them. Through positive practices, talk to your child about how they feel about your involvement.
Therefore, thank you to all of the parents and guardians out there who facilitate and encourage the involvement of your children in Irish Pony Club activities. Without you, your children would not be able to participate!
Visit www.cpsu/org.uk/parents for further information.