Let Them Be Bored

by Amanda K.

Today, parents are doing everything in their power to ensure their children are preoccupied at all times. Children are being introduced to technology such as television and electronic devices at a young age in effort to keep them busy. As a result, children are never bored and they experience negative consequences because of it. I read an article that discussed the difference between children who are constantly being entertained versus children who experience boredom. It was concluded that children who are given free time and experience boredom, had more imagination skills and were better at problem solving. Occupying every ounce of children’s free time creates little robots and reduces their imagination capacities. This is concerning because imagination has a large impact on the development of personality and problem solving abilities. I am not implying that parents should allow their children to sit in boredom all day, but simply encouraging parents to allow their children to use their imagination instead of technology.

To me, I have never seen being bored as a negative thing, but I have friends who hate the idea of not having anything to do. Growing up, I would spend the entire day alone in my room playing “house” with my Barbies or stuffed animals. I didn’t need anyone to accompany me because I had ability to imagine my stuffed animals coming to life. I believe this is why I have developed into an introvert. I have always had the ability to entertain myself with the simplest objects even if they were fabricated in my own mind. Without sounding like I was some freak on the playground who imagined things, I had a creative talent that allowed me to come up with imaginative ideas and solutions to problems. As I got older, unfortunately, I became too old to play house alone in my room. Instead, when me and my friends were bored, we would make up games in my backyard or pool. I remember playing “lifeguard” in the pool with my brother. One of us would be the lifeguard while the other was “drowning” and needed to be saved. We could spend hours in the pool playing out different situations like this.

Parents should never feel guilty when they see their children being bored. They should instead promote this behavior and simply provide their children with tools to deal with it. Parents need to provide children with the space and the proper materials that challenge them to amuse themselves. In some instances, this could simply mean giving children a cardboard box. It is amazing what a child can do with a cardboard box and imagination. They could be happily occupied for hours. If children run out of ideas, parents can give children a challenge that prompts more “creative role play”. For example, helping them cut holes in the box or giving them markers to decorate it to create something entirely new.

Not only is this a good lesson for children, but also for adults. We occupy a lot of our free time using technology and rarely enjoy being bored. Who says we’re too old to actively use our imagination for good? Who says were too old to play lifeguard in the pool?

Resources:

Being bored is good for children – and adults. This is why. Teresa Belton, World Economic Forum. (2016, September 26).

Posted in Positive Youth Development | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Barbells and Babies

By Kelsie P.

‘CrossFit’. By simply hearing the word, an abundance of stigmas, fallacies and negative connotations about the sport jump to the forefront. Inaccurate generalizations such as “CrossFit is a cult” or “CrossFit is dangerous” are quick to spring to mind – but possibly the most controversial misconception about the sport is “CrossFit is harmful to children”. Rightfully, with the large amount of media attention the sport receives, CrossFit is adversely perceived as harmful to adults, let alone to the bodies and minds of developing youth. Many think that weightlifting and high intensity workouts at a young age can lead to injury due to the strain it places on youth’s growing physiques. However, this is not the case. CrossFit is safe and beneficial for kids for various reasons; particularly on the physical, social and mental wellbeing components of development.

Many people see videos on social media of men and women with crazy heavy Olympic lifts, such as a Snatch or Clean-and-Jerk, and think that is what youngsters who are involved in the sport are doing as well. Yet, what the public may not be aware of, is that children have special programing within CrossFit, which is tailor made for their little bodies and abilities for their age level (task climate). CrossFit Kids places a focus on training muscles for strength, stability and longevity, with limited use of the barbell. (CrossFit Kids, 2016) Workouts and exercises are scaled to ensure the safety and competency of the athletes. Basic movements such as pushups, squats, burpees, box jumps, etc. are the basis of CrossFit Kids; these exercises are body weight oriented and promote mobility within joints and fine-tuning of basic motor skills. Strengthening of muscles, increased flexibility and learning fundamentals of core movement is proven to lead to prevention of later injuries. (Nierenberg, 2016) CrossFit Kids also focuses on metabolic conditioning and cardiovascular efficiency. Strength and cardio exercises work hand-in-hand in keeping youth in CrossFit fit and healthy; battling the possibility of weight concerns. (Klein, 2014) Coaches of CrossFit preach that fitness is a lifelong journey, giving 100% effort at all times and the importance of always striving to be a ‘better you’; hence, instilling a positive outlook on exercise and developing work ethic for the future (adult relationships, positive view of personal future and caring climate assets). (Bitonti, 2014)

Aside from the physical advantages of CrossFit, the sport offers a number of social and mental wellbeing benefits. CrossFit is known for it’s strong and supportive community. CrossFit is taught almost exclusively in group settings. An hour is spent working on strength and metcon components with 10 or so other athletes. This hour is spent screen-free and interacting with other athletes. You form bonds with other members, become friends outside of classes and support each other during workouts (interpersonal competence asset). Kids foster social skills, learn to effectively communicate with one another and how to work together in groups, through simply attending classes (social capital, and positive peer influence and conflict resolution asset; Imbo, 2016) Becoming an active member of the CrossFit community gives youth a feeling of belonging, inclusiveness and identity. Additionally, mastering skills and lifts gives youth a sense of accomplishment and in turn boosts their self-esteem (self-esteem asset). The more confident they become with their abilities in the gym, the more confident youth become with themselves outside of CrossFit (personal power).

Youth will feel stronger physically, mentally and socially through CrossFit, making it a positive developmental activity!

Resources:

Bitonti, D. (2014, January 11). CrossFit for kids? If done properly, trainers say it can
have huge benefits. Retrieved November 13, 2016, from
http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/crossfit-for-kids-if-done-properly-trainers-
say-it-can-have-huge-benefits-1.1634845

CrossFit Kids. (n.d.). Retrieved November 13, 2016, from https://kids.crossfit.com/

Imbo, W. (2016, May 20). 5 Ways Kids Can Benefit from CrossFit. Retrieved
November 13, 2016, from http://boxlifemagazine.com/5-ways-kids-benefit-
from-crossfit/

Klein, S. (2014, March 22). We Tried It: CrossFit for Kids. Retrieved November 13,
2016, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-klein/we-tried-it-
crossfit-for-kids_b_4993663.html

Nierenberg, C. (2016, March 1). CrossFit for Kids? Experts Weigh the Benefits and
Risks. Retrieved November 13, 2016, from
http://www.livescience.com/53898-crossfit-for-kids-benefits-and-risks.html

Posted in 40 Developmental Assets, Positive Youth Development | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

How helicopter parenting can affect youth development

by Dexter P.

Everywhere we look now a days it seems as though you can see an example of over parenting. Whether it is a parent at the park constantly telling their kid to “be careful”, or a parent constantly being at their kid’s sporting events trying to correct them. Parents doing this to their children could be depriving them of fundamental skills in the principles of youth development. Principles such as developing a wide range of knowledge, skills and behaviors, and developing youth capabilities can all be affected by this.

When children are outside playing it is important for them to be able to take risks and learn their limitations. If a parent is constantly watching them, the child is less likely to take risks that can lead to youth development. In this setting if the child is allowed to freely play, climb and swing, they will learn fundamental skills that require challenge and decision-making. This is something that may be lacking in our youth today and will only get worse if we continue to protect them. I worked with someone a few years back and his mother was the perfect example of a helicopter parent. She would not allow her kid to do anything. I remember when he was 17 everyone from work was going to magic mountain. Even at 17 his mother still wouldn’t let him go because she said it wasn’t safe if she wasn’t there. I still see him every now and then today and it is not hard to tell that he missed out on critical youth development skills.

By parents feeling the need to be around their children all the time, it can lead to increased anxiety and less self esteem for them. This is because when parents are constantly around, the child isn’t so much focused on taking risks and growing as much. Most youth are more focused on disappointing their parents so they will not be focused on the task. The best example of this would be in a sports setting. When the child is finally out in the real world without their parents, they are missing out on crucial aspects of youth development because of the over parenting. Many of these youth simply do not know what to do without their parents when they move out.

Refererence:

Parents: Overprotective Mommies and Daddies. (2007). Technique, 27(8), 7-8.

Baumrind (1966). Effects of authoritative parental control on child behaviour. Child Development, 37, 887–907.

Posted in Parents, Positive Youth Development | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Mom, I don’t want to become a pro, chill.

  • Bess T

I want to talk about my experience with parents who believe their child is going to become a professional athlete.  This is something that I experienced as a child; I experience it now as a coach; and I have also experienced the complete opposite.  I have always found the topic of parents living vicariously through their children interesting because that was my childhood.

I had a very unique upbringing where both of my parents had been professional athletes.  I was never even given the option to not be an athlete.  I was skiing as soon as I could walk and I was on horses as soon as I could sit up.  My father was a very successful ski racer, racing on the US Ski Team from 1976 to 1978 and then raced and coach at the University of Vermont until 1998.  My mother was a horseback rider competing in horse show circuits all over the US until she met my father in 1991.  My mother did not have as successful of a career as she had hoped for, while my father accomplished more than he ever dreamed of accomplishing and retired from competing by choice.

My mother, from a very young age, tried to push me into horseback riding.  I never really had a choice. She put me into lessons. She would get upset at an instructor and then she would become my coach. I would get upset with her as my coach, so I would go back to working with someone else and the cycle would repeat itself.  My mother always thought she could teach me better, but I never wanted to be taught by my mother because I felt this intense pressure from her that she needed me to succeed more than I ever cared to.  My whole relationship with my mother and horseback riding became about pleasing my mother and not about having fun with my horse.  I remember when I was 12 and I was riding my horse back to the barn and mom was walking beside me talking about how someday I’ll be riding in the Florida horse show circuit and we won’t have to spend winters in Canada anymore (her dream).  I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I didn’t want that. I wasn’t having fun. I resented my mother so much at that point that our relationship had totally disintegrated.  So in a moment of rage, I jumped off my horse, told my mother I hated riding and just walked into the house.  I quit horseback riding that day and I have only been on my horse once ever since.  Mom had a really hard time accepting that I wasn’t going to ride anymore.  She would bring it up all the time making comments about how good I was at it every chance she could or comments about how we could be in Florida riding every time I said I was cold in the winter (my mom really hates Canadian winters).  It used to cause a lot of fights between us. We were still fighting over it during my senior year of high school!  I quit when I was 12!  It is now something we just don’t talk about.  Mom now focuses her energy into training other riders who actually want to ride.

My father on the other hand, never pushed me to ski race even though it had been such a big part of his life.  I had to fight with him to be allowed to race. I had to prove I was dedicated enough to earn new race gear. I had to earn the right to be a ski racer.  I didn’t start racing until I was in grade 6 when he finally let me join the Crabbe Mountain Race Club.  He was my coach for a few years, but he never treated me any different than all the other athletes he coached.  He never treated me like he was using me to complete some unfinished dream of his or push me to act as if my goals were bigger than they were.  I only got praised from him when I earned it and when I was told “good run” it meant more to me than the constant praise my mother gave me in riding.  He pushed me to succeed but never more than I needed.  I loved it, ski racing was completely under my control and my father’s expectations were always realistic and in line with my own expectations of myself.

I think this difference in how my father handled my ski racing career verses how my mother treated my horseback riding career is what has made me a ski racer today and not a horseback rider.  My mother’s over bearing approach caused me to have anxiety about performing well and burnt me out at such a young age.  I never felt pressure from my father which allowed me to make my own choice about how much effort I was going to put into the sport and how far I was going to go with it.  The result was me going much farther in ski racing than I ever did in horseback riding and being happy the whole time I was participating in skiing.

As a coach now, I see parents that expect more from their child than the child is capable of, all the time.  I see kids crack under this pressure, have melt downs on the side of a course, cry when they don’t win and just give up.  In my five years of coaching, I have never met a kid that has had a break down or that cried over a performance who didn’t have an overly pushy parent.  This type of parent is a lot more common than you would think.  26% of parents believe that their child will become professional or Olympic athletes (Taylor, 2016;  Kelto, 2015; Richard, 2015).  That’s one in four parents.  That is crazy especially when the stats for how many athletes ever get to that level are only a minuscule fraction of 1% (Richard, 2015).  So why do parents put this kind of expectation on their child?  According to Dr. Jim Taylor (2012), the pursuit of athletic stardom is an addiction when it’s about the parents, not the athletes; when children’s physical and mental health and development suffer for it.

This type of behaviour is unhealthy for parents and their children.  So how do we stop this? Dr. Jim Taylor, my favourite sports psychologist, addresses this topic in this video and he discusses the proper way to push your child to succeed.  This video is a bit lengthy, but worth the watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrOt9MA3slM

Sport Nova Scotia has also addressed this issue in a new video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6ezBrpaJO0

 

References

Kelto, A. (2015, Sepember 4). how likely is it really that your athletic kid will turn pro. Retrieved Novemeber 8, 2016, from http://www.npr.org: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/09/04/432795481/how-likely-is-it-really-that-your-athletic-kid-will-turn-pro

Richard, J. (2015, October 18). hitching your hopes to an athletes career. Retrieved from http://www.torontosun.com: http://www.torontosun.com/2015/10/15/hitching-your-hopes-to-an-athletes-career

Taylor, D. J. (2016, October 18). five ways get coaches parents side. Retrieved Novemeber 8, 2016, from http://www.drjimtaylor.com: http://www.drjimtaylor.com/4.0/five-ways-get-coaches-parents-side/

 

Posted in Parents, Positive Youth Development, Sport | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Meditation Instead of Detention

by Meghan O.

In our normal school system, when a student misbehaves, they are usually sent directly to detention. Typically, this means sitting in a classroom and watching the clock tick by as frustration continues to build. In detention, you are told to think about what you have done or even worse, do school work and not think about what you have done. In this type of strict environment, there is no attempt for any kind of dialogue about the behaviours that led to detention. It is these students that repeatedly return to detention. With no effort to talk about negative behaviours and its implications, there will be no growth or learning for these students in detention. It is nearly impossible under these circumstances. These students need to understand the implications that their behavior have on their own lives and the lives of others. Acting out in school may be a cry for help for many students. It is important that schools recognize that behaviors need to be well understood so change can occur. Insanity has been described as doing the same things over and over again while expecting different results. If schools are finding the same students back in detention, new ways of dealing with behaviour problems need to be tried.

An elementary school in Baltimore has recently decided to make a change with respect to the way behavior is corrected in school. With help from the Holistic Life Foundation, this school has created a “Mindful Moment Room”. The coordinators of this foundation created this room as a place where misbehaving students are encouraged to go and learn how to deal with stress and anger through the practice of mindfulness. They provide instructions on how to practice breathing and meditation to help calm down and create understanding. Another aspect of this room’s structure is to ask students to talk through why they felt they needed to practice mindfulness. When I first came across this idea, I thought that there was no way that young children would be able to sit still and actually practice mindfulness. The Holistic Life Foundation says, ” You wouldn’t think that little kids would meditate in silence but they do.” The results seem to back up the perceived success of this project. This elementary school has not had a suspension since 2015. They have also received positive feedback from their students. Students say now instead of getting angry with someone, they remember to breath instead. There is much research that suggests positive impacts from students practicing mindfulness which include strengthened attention and concentration abilities, reducing anxiety about tests and improving classroom participation (Schoeberlein & Sheth, 2009).

So, whether or not you are in agreement that detention is serving a purpose, mindfulness definitely has a place in schools. It is an amazing idea to have a mindfulness practice take the place of detention. I strongly believe that all students could benefit from being more mindful as there are many long-term benefits that come from practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is a life long skill which requires much practice. I cannot think of a better place to start this practice than in school.

References:

“Mindful Moment Program.” Holistic Life Foundation. N.p., 2016. Web. 5 Nov. 2016.

Rutherford-Morrison, L. (2016). This School Replaced Detention with Meditiation and Hasn’t Had One Suspension Since.” Bu, N. p., 26, Sept. 2016. Web. 5 Nov. 2016.

Schoeberlein, D, & Sheth, S. (2009). Mindful teaching and teaching mindfulness: A guide for anyone who teaches anything. somerville: Wisdom Publication.

 

Posted in Positive Youth Development | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Lawnmower parent: are parents doing too much for their child?

by Jessica W.

Every parent wants the best for their child. Children whose parents are highly involved in their lives by providing developmentally appropriate structure have better academic, emotional and social outcomes. They also have more positive peer relationships and fewer behavior problems at school (Schiffrin et al., 2013). However, if the parent does not foster a child’s development appropriately, they may struggle with anxiety and depression, an example of this would be a lawnmower parent. There are many parents in today’s society that are considered a ‘lawnmower’ parent. These parents can be considered ones who walk in front of their child clearing everything that comes in the way making a smooth clear pathway. The goal of this lawnmower parent is to free their child of any anxiety or harm. However, these parents are cheating their children of mastering their own lawns and clearing any obstacles that may come in the way, therefore creating a negative developmental structure for the child.

This phenomenon of the lawnmower parent is well-intentioned, but inappropriate. Commonly lawnmower parents are strict and full of anxiety the moment their child is born and possibly even before the birth of the child. These parents have an excessive anxiety of their child’s safety and don’t trust others surrounding their child. Lawnmower parents may avoid babysitters, teachers, coaches and even physicians…some of these parents may actually argue and disagree with their child’s pediatrician to assure that they’re getting the proper diagnosis. From an article by Bryan Greeson (2015) he states that these parents even push their limits once the child is in college by contacting professors about their children’s grades and even doing the work for the child. If my parents were to contact professors arguing the grades I received I would be so embarrassed; however, sometimes these children are unaware of their parents actions.

Unsurprisingly, there’s going to come a point in these children’s lives when they won’t have their parents to lean on. If these children of the lawnmower parents decide to have children of their own, they will have difficulty teaching independence, confidence and work ethic. Also these future parents will lack the ability to discipline their child or children since they haven’t learned these assets themselves. Therefore, by having or being a lawnmower parent you are actually creating a negative environment for your child. These children will not be able to grow and develop as well as those children who had non-lawnmower parents. By providing a positive development as parents, youth are more likely to succeed.

I can’t personally relate to being raised by a lawnmower parent, growing up my parents were laid back and supportive but also had rules that I had to follow or there were consequences, pretty much your average parents. However, growing up I had a friend whose mom can be considered a lawnmower parent. Growing up with this friend I remember her mom used to tell her that she wasn’t allowed to go to any of her friends houses to play, she insisted that her friends must come to their house instead. Also this mother would always be coming to school dropping off her daughter lunch and checking in on how she was doing as well as always having parent teacher meetings. As far as college and university goes I’m sure this mother is butting her nose in contacting the daughters professors questioning the marks in which the daughter received.

Obviously, I don’t believe that there are any benefits of lawnmower parents. I think that parents should be there to guide and support their child and teach them how to deal with real life situations. The affects of being that over active parent leads to the child acting out and misbehaving, nonetheless it also leads to mental health problems. Therefore don’t be an overbearing parent, create a positive developmental environment for your child and guide it to success.

References:

Schiffrin, H.H., Liss, M., Miles-McLean, H. et al. J Child Fam Stud (2014) 23: 548. doi:10.1007/s10826-013-9716-3

Greeson, B. (2015). Move over helicopter parents, meet the lawnmower parents. Gaston Gazette. Retrieved 3 November 2016, from http://www.gastongazette.com/article/20151130/NEWS/151139937

Locke, J. Y., Campbell, M. A., & Kavanagh, D. (2012). Can a parent do too much for their child? An examination by parenting professionals of the concept of over parenting. Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling22(02), 249-265.

Desai, A. & Desai, A. (2016). Here Come The Lawnmower Parents, A Breed That Is More Aggressive Than Helicopter Parents. The Inquisitr News. Retrieved 3 November 2016, from http://www.inquisitr.com/1535202/here-come-the-lawnmower-parents-a-breed-that-is-more-aggressive-than-helicopter-parents/

 

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Being the best, but at what cost: The disadvantages of early single sport specialization

by Megan C.

Over the years, society has created an environment where early sport specialization is not only accepted but encouraged. Having a three-year-old son, I have noticed firsthand the pressure placed on a child, at a young age, to identify with only one sport. For example, one of the first comments after my son was born was relating to the size of his hands and how he would make a great basketball player. More recently, comments have been made about his broad body frame and how this would be a beneficial attribute in the sport of hockey. Not to mention, walking into any children’s store and seeing an endless supply of t-shirts with “future hockey star” or any sport for that matter, branded across the chest. Although these are all seemingly meaningless gestures, they represent the current societal acceptance and pressures of early sport specialization and early self-identity with one sport.

“Single sport specialization was first reported in Eastern Europe with … sports such as gymnastics, swimming, diving, and figure skating” (Myer et al., 2015, p. 66). In a recent study Myer at al. (2015) found that approximately 30% of 1200 youth sampled, were highly specialized in one sport. The shift from unstructured and fun oriented youth activities to the current highly structured youth programs, demonstrates “the increased emphasis that today’s society has placed on winning” (Young, 2012). The focus of participating in youth sport has shifted from developmental benefits, such as increased confidence, interpersonal skills, and perseverance to winning and success. In previous decades, sport participation followed the motto of Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games, who claimed “the most important thing is not to win but to take part” (Young, 2012). However, the current and most accepted philosophy of sport aligns with the views of UCLA Bruins football coach, Henry Russell Sanders’, who stated “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” (Young, 2012).

Despite the statistics that each child has a 5.3% chance of playing a sport in college and 0.05% chance of playing a high-level professional sport, parents buy into the societal pressures of making their child best (Young, 2012). Thus, the recreation industry is able to capitalize off of this offering more specialized programs to younger age groups, and the cycle continues.

Consequences of Early Sport Specialization:

The weekly hours spent in intense training should not exceed the age of the child, or 16 hours, whichever is smaller (Myer et al., 2015). Exceeding this could have negative physical, psychological, intellectual, and social developmental implications.

  • The physical risks of early single sport specialization include overuse injuries, stress fractures, physical burnout, eating disorders, and delayed menstruation (Hecimovich, 2004). Also, limited exposure to multiple sports and activities can decrease motor and physical literacy skills, because the child focuses only on the specific set of movements, related to their sport of specialization (Myer et al., 2015).
  • The psychological risks of early single sport specialization are increased levels of stress, higher levels of pre-competitive anxiety, depression, and perfectionism (Hecimovich, 2004).
  • The intellectual risks of early single sport specialization are reduced cognitive skills due to the lack of unstructured play and constant exposure to one sport and set of guidelines (Myer et al., 2015). Without sport diversification, children may not develop proper neuromuscular patterns which increases injury prevention later in life (Myer et al., 2016). Also, Livingston, Schmidt, and Lehman (2016) found a relationship between years of participation and academic achievement, which suggests that youth who have participated in competitive soccer for a longer duration of time may have poorer academic performances in school.
  • The social risks of early single sport specialization are lack of social development opportunities, especially in individual sport participation, because all free time is devoted to structured sport participation (Hecimovich, 2004). Also, it was found that parents of children enrolled in competitive soccer have less enjoyment as a family overall, the longer their child has participated (Livingston, Schmidt, & Lehman, 2016). The decreasing levels of family enjoyment are believed to be caused by perceived sacrifices made and events skipped, by the family, because of excessive soccer participation (Livingston et al., 2016).
  • Early sport specialization limits the amount of time children have to engage in free play. The ratio of weekly hours in organized sports compared to unorganized time for free play is 2:1 (Myer et al., 2015). The developmental benefits of free play are increased creativity, problem solving skills, social skills, and leadership qualities. These skills are reduced when free play is eliminated.
  • Early sport specialization decreases both the aspects of fun and autonomy in sport, which are both linked to increased dropout rates.
  • At the elite level, children may leave their home to train before the age of 12 (Hecimovich, 2004). Thus, early specialization places extreme demands of early maturity and independence on young children.

Recommendations for Parents and Coaches:

  • Youth participation should be encouraged to participate in a multitude of sports to develop diverse motor skills (Myer et al., 2016).
  • Opportunities for unstructured play should be made a priority both at home and at school.
  • Children participating in sport should be monitored closely for fatigue and burn out (Myer et al., 2016).
  • Personal and team performance goals should be made to shift the focus from winning (Hecimovich, 2004). This allows teams to both measure and achieve success, without winning.
  • Coaches and parents should commit to focusing on performance, and not outcome (Hecimovich, 2004).
  • Recreational facilities and coaches should provide adequate breaks in sport seasons, for youth to engage in other recreational opportunities at a lower intensity level (Hecimovich, 2004).
  • Children should never be required to play through injuries, or continue participating in a sport they do not enjoy.
  • Parents and coaches should demonstrate the importance of fun in sport, by asking questions such as “did you have fun tonight?” instead of “did you win?” (Young, 2012).

As parents, coaches, and volunteers, we have a very important role to foster positive youth development. Given that enjoyment is the number one determinant of continued participation, I think it is important that we bring back the fun in sport. Every child is not going to be an elite athlete, but every child deserves an opportunity to participate (Hecimovich, 2004). Thus, recreational facilities should reverse the current trend of promoting early single sport specialization and provide more recreational sporting opportunities.

References:

Hecimovich, M. (2004). Sport specialization in youth: A literature review. Journal of Chiropractic, 41(4), 32-39. Retrieved October 30, 2016.

Livingston, J., Schmidt, C., & Lehman, S. (2016). Competitive club soccer: Parent’s assessments of children’s early and later sport specialization. Journal of Sport Behaviour, 39(3), 301-316. Retrieved October 30, 2016.

Myer, G. D., Jayanthi, N., DiFiori, J. P., Faigenbaum, A. D., Kiefer, A. W., Logerstedt, D., & Micheli, L. J. (2015). Sports specialization, part II: Alternative solutions to early sport specialization in youth athletes. Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach, 8(1), 65-73. doi: 10.1177/1941738115614811

Young, C. C. (2012). The importance of putting the fun back in to youth sports. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, 16(6), 39-40. Retrieved October 30, 2016.

 

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