School is out and summer is here! While your kids look forward to the few months off, you may be wondering what to do with the extra time. A great way to keep your kids healthy and active throughout the summer is to sign up for summer camps and youth sports leagues. The effect of exercise and its benefit on overall health is a pretty convincing case for getting your children into youth sports. However, what if your child isn’t interested in participating? Instead of forcing it upon them, which can make the situation worse, consider the following ways you can get your kids excited about summer camps and athletic activities:
1 – Know your kid
Before you decide what to do with your child during the summer months, make sure you know what piques their interest. If your child loves climbing all over everything, gymnastics camp might be the route for them. Be sure to really think about what could benefit your child and what might interest them most before signing them up.
2 - Let them choose
Never force your child to attend, instead give them options. Let them know that they need to participate in some type of activity, but give them the freedom to choose. This way it gives them some control over the types of activities they want in their life. Maybe your child has spent the last two years playing baseball now wants to try lacrosse. Maybe your child wants to attend a different type of summer camp like drama/theater or boy/girl scout camp. When you allow them to choose what activities they’re involved in, they will be more excited.
3 – Choose activities with their friends
Chances are that your kid’s friends will also be participating in activities during the summer. Signing your child up for something they can do with their friends is another way for them to get excited about the camp. Talk with other parents and see what their children will be involved in this summer.
4 - Take them shopping
When your child plays sports or attends camp, they will need a lot of gear and equipment. In order to make your child more excited about their summer activities, take them shopping and allow them to choose what they want. For example, let your baseball player choose his or her own cleats. Allowing them to choose a fun color or design will excite and encourage them to want to participate in camp just to wear the new, flashy gear. This helps to make the activity more fun!
5 – Show your support
Summer camp may allow you to save on finding and paying for a babysitter, however it is very important you still support your child’s activities. If he or she feels like camp or sports are just a way for you to get away from them, they’ll lose interest. Make sure you attend the games, stay and watch practices, and attend the family days if they have them. This of course shows your child that you care about them and what they do during the day.
6 – Be involved
Depending on the age of your child, being involved with the activity can make the event more fun for them. For example, if your child is nervous to join a new team, signing up to be an assistant coach could be a good idea. Or even finding a combined kids and adults team. This way your child gets the summer sports team experience while still having a comfort zone. If you’re not much of a coach, try to find other ways to get involved. Try taking interest by practicing the sport with them after hours. Help your child work on hand-eye coordination or skills for their sport. Playing together offers some healthy bonding time and the exercise is good for everyone.
7 - Set an Example
You may run in to problems with getting your kids to get excited about exercise if you never do any yourself. Why should they get up off the couch if you never do? The best way to show them is to lead by example, so start setting your own exercise goals. Share your progress and the positive effects sports and exercise have and your children will want to be just like you.
Getting your child excited about summer camps and sports may be a challenge, but if you use these tips, you’ll find that their excitement will quickly grow.