10 Ways Parents Can Make Athletes Happy

When kids are little, they enjoy playing sports so much it’s evident. Sometimes as they grow, they lose interest in their activities—and it often has to do with their parents’ approach.

It’s sad to say, but our youth-sports culture doesn’t necessarily support kids playing just for the fun of it. Parents often feel pressured to raise “successful” kids—and pass that stress on to their kids to the tune of heavy expectations. The result? Kids either buckle and quit, or play without enjoying it.

It doesn’t have to be this way, of course, and you have the power to create a better environment. So how do you keep your kids engaged and having fun? Here are ten ways parents can keep kids happy:

Keep winning in perspective. Happy-kid parents know learning and growing are just as important (if not more so) than any big win.

Let children push themselves. Over-controlling and pushing a child is not going to help anyone in the long run.

Be a parent—not a coach. This means, before the game, during the game and after the game. Unless a young athlete asks for help, let the coach do the coaching.

Encourage kids to have fun. Emphasize the meaning of ‘play’ when communicating about sports with your children.

Show love, no matter what. And remember: Love is expressed in words and actions.

Know when to keep quiet. Avoid saying the first thing that comes to mind after your child has a hard game or comes home venting. Give them space and think before you speak.

Acknowledge your child’s strengths. Don’t compare your young athlete to other players or siblings.

Encourage children to experience life outside of sports. It will help them grow into well-rounded individuals.

Remind kids not to worry. Let them know most of what they might worry about today won’t matter in a few years, or even next season.

Focus on the end game. Remind yourself of what you hope your child can have and do in life—overall.



Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.


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