Now that schools are back in session, fall and winter sports are underway. Some children can suffer fear or apprehension about participating in sports activities. The fear might be of trying something new, being afraid to fail in a public event, or fear of interacting with unfamiliar teammates. As parents, we want to allay these fears, but we also want to teach our children how to face their fears and work through them. They also need to learn that failure is part of taking risks, and it’s okay to fail at anything as long as they are prepared to learn from it and try again. Here are some tips for parents when helping your children with sports fears:
If your child is afraid to try a new sport, you should stay calm. You don’t want to overreact to their statement by either removing them from the team or by simply telling them “Get back in there and do it, you know you want to.” Facing fear is a normal part of childhood, so let your child express their concerns. Don’t minimize them or ignore them, but teach your child that trying something new can be very rewarding and the learning experience is valuable. Also tell them there is nothing wrong with not succeeding the first time and it’s a normal part of improvement.
Discuss why the child is afraid
If a child simply states they don’t want to play sports, it’s important not to leave it at that. Ask them to be specific and put their fears into words. Once they describe their fears, it’s easier for you to discuss ways to overcome them. They may be concerned other kids will make fun of them, or they are afraid of making mistakes. Regardless of the reason, you then have the opportunity to discuss their concerns and try to find solutions for how to work through them.
Remind them of their courage
If a child expresses fears about sports, find examples in their past where the child successfully worked through a fearful situation and dealt with it. Use those examples to show them their current fear is not different, and they have the strength and capability to deal with it.
Show your child how you deal with fearful situations
Children may exhibit fears if they feel you are also fearful. Show them how you deal with fear by your strength and integrity. Show them how you are compassionate with others even when it might be difficult for you. Children can learn courage from watching their parents, so show them how to do it by how you live your life.
Tell your child it is okay to request help
Teach your child it is okay to ask for help from parents, teachers, coaches, or even another teammate they trust. Show them that asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. When they ask for help and learn how to overcome their fear, courage will replace it and they will grow emotionally.
Sarasota Sun Devils programs
If your child is interested in a safe place to play youth football, bring them to Sarasota Sun Devils. We have both a football and cheerleading program to help children grow and gain confidence. Our football program starts at age 5 and goes to age 14. We offer different levels of development including Tiny Mite, Mighty Mite, Junior Pee Wee, Pee Wee, Junior Varsity, and Unlimited.
Help your child overcome their fears by including them in Sarasota Sun Devils activities.