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When a Little Competition Becomes Too Much

We all want our children to have an active and healthy lifestyle but sometimes we can go a little overboard. It's hard to realize when what seems like a friendly team sport can begin to put pressure on our kids. Have you ever yelled at your children from the sidelines? Does practice for sports take precedent over other "family time" activities? Has your child ever asked you to quit a sport or activity but you pushed them to continue? If so, your child might be feeling pressure when it's time to get off the sidelines and participate. Competition usually involves winning and losing¸ so believe it or not, your child may feel like they let down not only themselves by losing a game, but you as well.

Parentng Tips to Ease Pressure On Children:

  • Be sure they get lots of sleep the night before the "big game." This will help keep their energy levels up and we all know they're less likely to be cranky.
  • No fast food or unhealthy snacks on the big day. Healthy food will also boost their energy and allow them to perform at their very best.
  • Find a way for your child to relax right before they're about to compete. Have them take a few slow, deep breaths or do some gentle stretches with them. Also, a team huddle will let them feel like they're part of the group, win or lose.
  • Practice the activity/sport with them! Let them know it's just a game, it can be fun, and you're here for them no matter what. Also, practicing allows them to feel more confident about their abilities.

Following the above steps will help ease your child's fears about competing, but it might not completely take it away. Be sure to help calm their fears by telling them it is just a game, and you love them the same no matter what. Also, if the pressure proves to be too much for your child, you may need to consider a break from sports competition. Taking a break doesn't have to be permanent and in fact, it's more than likely they'll miss the good times and want to return to the game in full force.