From scoring the winning goal to making that game-saving tackle, seeing your children succeed on the sporting field is one of life’s greatest joys. But if you’re not careful, these moments can easily pass you by. Being present and supportive on the sideline (and in life) is important, for you and your children. To give you some perspective, let’s take a closer look.
How present and supportive are Australian parents?
According to the Australian Active Kids Survey, 24.8% of Australian parents check emails or do some work while waiting for children to complete sports and activities. To be fair, work and life can get in the way of attending every single one of your children’s sporting events. But at the ones you do make it to, how present and supportive would you say you are?
Of course, we’ve all done it. Sometimes your mind simply wanders while standing on the sideline. And with the Internet in our pocket, it can be easy to get distracted. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that what you do (and don’t do) in the audience will have a lasting impact on your children – and this won’t always be positive. That’s why making an extra effort to be present and supportive is so important.
The importance of being in the moment
The pace of the everyday grind makes it tough to be present. It seems like there’s so much to get done and so little time to do it all. Not only are we thinking about things that have already happened, we’re also constantly mulling over what’s next. The problem with this is we forget to appreciate the important things happening to us right now. Not only can this impact your health and happiness, but it can impact your child’s too.
Achieving mindfulness doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, effort and plenty of practice. But once you start the process, you’ll see why it’s so rewarding. Being in the moment helps you become more emotionally connected to the people in front of you, as well as appreciate and support their interests (like sports). It also improves your own social skills, boosts your creativity, decreases stress levels, and opens you up to new perspectives. In many ways, it helps you become a better parent – at home and in the stands.
Tips for being a supportive parent
From not giving your children enough encouragement, to having unrealistic expectations, sometimes it can be tricky finding the right balance of support. Often we think we’ve done a great job, only to find that our children think the exact opposite! However, as your relationship with your children develops, there are simple ways to give them the support they need and deserve.
When it comes to sports, it’s important to emphasise that success is about their performance, not the outcome of the game. They want to be the best they can be, not the best you want them to be. You need to acknowledge their achievements and support them through any challenges they might face. Encourage their passions and let them experience their own competitiveness. Your job is to help them set their goals, to guide their desires, and to instil confidence.
It can help to communicate that core values in life such as resilience, kindness, and teamwork can be reflected in the way they approach sports and activities. When they achieve something, make sure you provide plenty of positive reinforcement, reminding them that competitiveness isn’t just about winning; it’s about passion, growth, and fun.
At the end of the day, being supportive is about facilitating your children’ growth and success, not forcing it upon them. And this doesn’t just apply to their sporting pursuits, but to all aspects of their lives.
Tatiana Day is a dedicated mum of three beautiful children who keep her on her toes! As Head of Corporate Affairs at Real Insurance and with a background in PR and journalism across Financial Services she is keenly interested in the evolving life of the modern Australian family and the pressures put on it. When she can find some downtime, Tatiana enjoys cooking, music and breathing in the great outdoors.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative guest post.