Let’s face it. Most of us will not have kids who become Olympic athletes.
But our athletes will have their own “medals” to win and “Olympic moments” to conquer. And the same characteristics we’ve seen in our Olympians this past week can be present in your child, helping him to achieve his own personal best.
How can you help your child grow an Olympic spirit?
- Help him set his eyes on something bigger. Bigger than tomorrow’s practice, bigger than this week’s game. Help your child understand that if he really wants to be a champion, he has to have a vision and play for something bigger than today.
- Work with your child in setting goals that will keep her motivated. Champion athletes work hard to get better every day and goals give them a plan to measure their progress and mark their successes.
- Stress to your young athlete the importance of staying positive. That means looking for small–as well as big–victories, and refusing to dwell on mistakes. There is always hope for the amazing to happen!
- Help your child learn to focus on the task at hand. It’s important that they concentrate on what they can control, looking for a solution to their problems.
- Your young athlete will have to learn discipline. She may not like getting up early or putting in extra time, but she needs to be self-disciplined to achieve her goals.
- Talk to your child about the importance of sacrifice. He will have to make some in order to reach his dream.
- Provide coaches and mentors for your athlete. He will need supporters to push him when he wants to quit. Without support and accountability, dreams can dissolve.
- Remind your child that champions often lose more than they win, but it’s their determination that keeps them moving forward when others quit. And when that happens, they can eventually win.
- When your child wants to quit, remind her that champions may feel like quitting, but they must learn to push through.
- Encourage your child to appreciate the spirit of competition by respecting opponents and encouraging fellow athletes. This past week, I saw losers congratulate winners, winners hug losers, and teammates support each other, even while competing against each other.
Your child can be a champion
Every time I watch the Olympics, I am moved. Not just by athletes who get to the medals podium, but by athletes who show us what can happen when we work hard, persist, sacrifice and hang on to our dreams.
And the cool thing is, our children too can be champions in their own arena when they develop the Olympic spirit.
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