How Can Kids Sport Build Positive Habits?  

Have you ever considered how playing sport can lead to children being grateful, kind, optimistic, mindful and happy?

I want to put out some food for thought and create a conversation.

I am a strong believer that sport can teach children habits of the above traits and of course adults.

Every now and then you hear a professional athlete in an interview saying “how grateful they are for the opportunity to play” (gratitude) or “we just want to soak up the atmosphere” (mindfulness).

Gratitude and mindfulness does exist in sport. However, is it something we teach our kids?

Some parents may but from my observations of personally playing kids sports since the age of 5 and beyond and being involved in junior sport for 18 years I would say probably not that often.

Maybe sportsmanship is discussed but I think we can go deeper and it does not have to be complicated.

3-ways parents, coaches and teachers can help children form habits of gratitude through sport:

1. Be grateful for the opportunity to play sport
  • Many children don’t get the opportunity for a variety of reasons to play sport
  • Discuss how lucky they are they have the opportunity.
2. Be grateful for coaches, referees/umpires, teammates and opposition players.
  • Encourage children to say thank you to the coach, teammates and opposition players
  • Without the coach teammates and opposition it would not be possible to play
3. Be grateful for the facilities and equipment

Discuss how lucky they are to have a:

  • court, oval or pitch to play and practice on
  • uniforms to wear
  • equipment to practice and play with
  • many kids don’t get the same opportunity.

Sport is a perfect vehicle to help cultivate gratitude, kindness, optimism, resilience, empathy, mindfulness and service minded children.

It’s up to the coaches and parents to develop the language to allow children to reflect and use such strengths.

The good news is, at Growing With Gratitude we are working on a framework that will provide coaches and parents on how to do this.

Feel free to share with your family and friends if you found this article valuable.

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Twitter: @grow_gratitude
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