If you love sports, it is only natural that you want your children to love them too! 

There are quite a few benefits kids gain when they play sports. Not only do sports help them stay physically active, but they also help them develop self-esteem, leadership skills, and communication skills. 

Some kids have a natural love of sports. Others, not so much. 

If your kiddos would rather sit in front of a television watching cartoons instead of running around on the field, you might have to do some coaxing to get them interested in playing. 

Before you drag them kicking and screaming onto the soccer field, try some of the following approaches. Your children will be much happier if they willingly choose to play a sport. 

Talk about what they dislike

If your child is really resistant to getting outside and playing sports, have a heart-to-heart with them instead of forcing sports onto them. See if you can figure out why they don’t like sports. 

Maybe they don’t like competitive team sports but instead want to learn a solo sport, such as ice skating. Or maybe they don’t want to play something that involves lots of running, but would be willing to try something like tennis. 

Another common reason kids dislike sports is because they once had a coach put too much pressure on them. Listening to their concerns can help the two of you work out a solution together

Dec 26, 2019; Sacramento, California, USA; A kid helps Sacramento Kings players warm up before the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Play sports with them

All kids enjoy spending quality time with their parents. If you show an interest in getting outside and playing a sport with them, they might be more willing to try something new out. 

And it doesn’t have to be a structured sport! Even as something as simple as going outside and throwing a baseball back and forth is a good way to get them interested. 

Try out different sports together. Teach them how to play your favorite sport. Let them pick a new sport and learn the rules together. If they discover that they enjoy playing with you, they might be more willing to try playing on a team. 

Buy them sports equipment

The toys you buy your kids could also impact their interests. These days, many parents fall into the habit of buying their children the latest and greatest tech products but overlook the value of sports equipment.

Before you buy your toddler a new tablet, consider buying them some fun sports equipment. Think creatively and try to find equipment that you can play with as a family. 

The equipment doesn’t even need to be aligned with a specific sport. Toys like trampolines and swing sets aren’t necessarily sports-related, but they do get them up and moving. Encouraging physical activity in any way possible could eventually get them interested in trying a sport. 

Keep it positive

Listen to how you talk to your kids about sports. If you’re being overly aggressive, you could be discouraging your children from wanting to even try to play. 

Think about how you talk to them when they do play—if you’re using language that insinuates they’re not doing well, they might not want to play because they think they’re not good enough. Make sure to tell them what they’re doing right in addition to providing coaching on how they can improve. 

Also, make sports fun for them instead of stressful. Instead of focusing on the competitive side of sports, focus on the fact that it is fun to spend time with friends. 

Jan 25, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; Young kids in the 40 yard dash at the scouting combine section of the NFL Experience NFLÕs Super Bowl Experience at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Find the right sport

Sometimes it might take a little bit of experimentation before you find the right sport for your child. If you’re trying to force your favorite sport on them and aren’t letting them have a say, that could be part of the reason they aren’t interested. 

Expose your child to a variety of sports. Let them try various team sports as well as solo sports. Check out sites such as skillspeedpower.com to learn how to play new sports that you might not have considered before. 

Try to tap into your child’s current interests. If they enjoy climbing trees but hate throwing balls, try giving something like rock climbing a chance. 

Final thoughts

Getting a reluctant child interested in sports takes time, patience, and a lot of encouragement! 

If you can’t seem to get your child interested in any sports, start trying to find other ways to get them physically active. Hiking, recreational swimming, and bicycling are all good alternatives for the kid who hates all sports.