Motivating Kids to be active
Physical activity is essential for healthy development and hence parents have a vested interest to embrace the activity. But certain factors come in the way of children or young adults being active.
In a study, children and youth for eight years, say from ages 10 to 17, were followed up for a better understanding of their participation in sports and other activities. Their motives for activities, impediments to their participation, and key influences on participation such as screen time, sleep, and personal events in their lives were assessed. The data, reveals certain vital points, which include youth-perceived barriers to activity that are useful for parents, coaches, and educators to understand and take adequate steps to overcome the same. National Public School (NPS), is Bangalore’s best school as not only the coaches or educators are empowered to take remedial measures to overcome negative notions about sports & activities, but the parents are also equally to contribute.
Two types of barriers:
Internal barriers are traits like feelings and attitudes that children and youth have towards activity. If a child says that he or she is not interested, there is hard that one can do something then, motivation is the only way.
External barriers are physical factors that arrest or interfere with participation in sports and activity. Lack of infrastructure, lack of equipment, etc can be examples.
Internal barriers are perhaps the most trouble for some of the two. Deeply held negative feelings and beliefs about physical activity can’t be taken out by simply buying the required sports equipment or access to the best of the programs. Children will simply not participate.
Self-confidence and self-efficacy
Children are more likely to participate in an activity when they have developed feelings of confidence, enjoyment, and self-efficacy towards sports and physical activity both inside and outside of school. Research shows that these feelings have a big effect on their participation. NPS Bangalore, a school that gives equal importance to academics and activities, encourage children to participate in an activity when they have developed feelings of confidence in themselves, enjoyment about what is done, and self-efficacy toward sport and physical activity.
Parents indirectly impact these feelings through a variety of verbal and non-verbal behaviors. Non-verbal supports include things such as watching their child participate in sports or physical activities and being active role models. Verbal supports include talking to their child about the benefits of such initiatives.
Direct tangible supports also have a positive impact. When parents provide direct support such as driving them to games and training sessions, their child’s feelings of self-efficacy and enjoyment increase. However, when they try to control too many aspects of their children’s participation, feelings of self-efficacy and enjoyment affects adversely.
Tips for boosting children's feelings of self-efficacy and enjoyment:
Tips for parents
- Do not forcefully push your child to participate in physical activity.
- Morally support your child’s physical activity practices by engaging in physical activity along with them, if possible; watch them playing games and practices, and facilitate travel for their sports or activity events.
- Be conscious of your likes or dislikes towards sports and physical activity. For example, if you have negative feelings about physical activity, try to come out of those feelings and be more positive to orient your child.
- Acknowledge that your child encounters internal and external barriers to being active.
- Help your child articulate the barriers they face and discuss coping strategies with them.
Tips for coaches & educators
- Be conscious of your outlook toward sports and physical activity. Don’t thrust your idea or opinions. Children in your care don’t need to agree.
- Use creativity to make your practices and classes fun-filled and not just academics alone.
- Avoid controlling behaviours and leave room for some discretion of their own.
- Help develop the self-efficacy of the kids in your programs by guiding them in surmounting obstacles during practices and classes.
If we put a conscious effort as adults to understand why children participate in sports and activity, then we can do a better job of helping them to develop the feelings, attitudes, and beliefs that will keep them active throughout their life.