My three youngest children participated in recreational soccer all through elementary school, and once they entered middle school, I was very excited to watch my son and middle girl finish out wrestling and field hockey season (respectively) with all of their body parts intact. My oldest girl, however, showed very little interest in sports. My husband and I insisted she try something and, although Holly enjoyed playing recreational volleyball in middle school, she is the least competitive of all four of our kids.
Holly is also the shyest of our bunch (it’s okay, she is well aware of it) and, quite frankly, I felt very little pressure to push my “non-sporty kid” beyond rooting for her siblings from the sidelines and passing out snacks to the rest of the team. It was only once Holly entered high school when she began to take advantage of other physical outlets offered and perhaps much more appealing to non-sport kids (like her): art classes, dance, yoga, drama classes and music, provided Holly the opportunity of forming a strong network of friends that she continues to keep in touch with even after graduation.
(see also 5 Effective Ideas for Family Fitness)
Thinking back on it now, I am very thankful to have found many other non-competitive activities offered by our local department of parks and recreation: classes which incorporated music and physical activity were one of Holly’s favorites, as it alternated between full group activities and independent play.
As a parent of three teens and one tween, and an ambassador for the Together CountsTM program, I believe keeping active is more than just an opportunity to be physically healthy: they are learning self-confidence, building on social skills, practicing sportsmanship and, well, if you’ve ever sat on a cold bleacher or rooted kids on from the sidelines in the rain, then perhaps you will agree that we just want our kids to have fun.
How do you encourage your kids to get active? Share with us your strategies!
Liz started blogging at This Full House in 2003 (when blogging was still in diapers) to connect with other parents, share stories and feel a little less disconnected with life outside her front door, beyond all the dust bunnies and diapers. She continues to enjoy writing about the trials and tribulations of raising four children, a rambunctious lab named Rudolph (a.k.a. Doofus-Dawg) a delinquent cat and killer dust bunnies.
For more Together CountsTM Program resources surrounding family activity, check out these great links: