Here are five tips from Girls Leadership to support you as you support her.
1. Make Movement the Goal
FOR HER: Some kids are born competitors and love the team dynamic. Others, not so much. If your girl prefers to do her own thing, introduce her to activities like martial arts, fencing, swimming, dance, skateboarding, rock climbing, hiking, biking…
FOR YOU: If you don’t know how to do a sport she’s interested in, find an older kid who does and ask if they’ll teach her. Or you can both learn together.
2. Explore Different Levels
FOR HER: It’s great to aspire to playing on the varsity or travel team. But it’s also just as rewarding to play at less competitive levels, where there’s less pressure, allowing her to enjoy the game.
FOR YOU: Talk with her about the pros and cons of playing at different levels and help her figure out how she can make room for other priorities.
3. Change it Up
FOR HER: Whether she’s gold-medal bound, or just playing for fun, mixing up the routine with different sports and activities throughout the year helps her build new muscle groups while giving others a rest. It also helps her avoid burnout and introduces her to new skills she may not have known she has.
FOR YOU: Look for—or start up—used equipment swaps to help defray some of the costs of gearing up.
4. Don’t Throw the Sport out with the Coach
FOR HER: “My coach doesn’t like me,” is a common refrain from girls who leave sports. It could be that they’re taking constructive criticism personally. Or it truly could be a bad fit. Either way, it’s possible to leave a coach without leaving the sport.
FOR YOU: Ask your girl for examples of how her coach interacts with her. Role-play ways she can communicate her needs to her coach. If things don’t improve, search for a better fit.
5. Join Her
FOR HER: If it’s important to you that your girl stays active, be her #1 role model. Get out there with her for bike rides, be the first one in the pool, dance at home with her, take her hiking, practice pitching, catching.
FOR YOU: Find ways to work activity into things you already do: ride bikes to school instead of driving her or dance your way through weekend chores together.