We’ve all noticed the different ways parents react on the sidelines of their children’s sporting events. Some yell, some cheer, some jeer, some sit quietly, and some don’t even show up at all. It’s easy to get passionate about your child’s game, especially if you too are particularly a fan of the sport they are playing, but sometimes being over passionate isn’t the best thing for your child. In this article, we will break down how to be the best possible parent on the sideline.
Whether you are a fan of the sport your kid is playing or not, the number one rule of being a good sideline parent is simply showing up. If you think your sons or daughters are playing the sport just for themselves, you are wrong. Children have a desire to make their parents proud, and that is something that you will always need to remember so that you don’t take it for granted. Just showing up to their games and practices shows that you are interested and proud of your child’s efforts.
So you showed up to practice and the game, and your child is already surely thankful for that, but there is so much more that you can do once you are there. The second rule is to make sure that you are paying attention. Too often parents show up to these sporting events with their cell phones, laptops, or a book to occupy their attention. If you think your kid doesn’t notice this, you are wrong about that. If you don’t follow rule two, rule one is thrown out of the window because your child will not care if you showed up or not if you are not paying attention to them during the event. It goes back to your child’s desire to make you proud, and if you aren’t paying attention to them, they aren’t going to think you are proud of them.
Rule number three is perhaps the most fun rule of all, because this is the one that really gets your children knowing just how proud of a parent you are. Showing up to the game and paying attention throughout it is just fine, but if you can cheer your child on, the game will be that much more fun. Try to keep all of your cheers positive, and definitely let them know when they did something well. If they aren’t having too good of a game, you don’t need to point out what they are doing wrong, but throw them words of encouragement instead, such as, “It’s okay, you’ll get it next time!”
Once the game is over, don’t think your sideline parenting efforts are done as well. This is the time where you need to talk to your child about what happened during the sporting event. If they seem like they are disappointed in their performance, there is no problem with giving them a little constructive criticism if you do it in a nice way. Your child will appreciate your honesty, as well as the fact that you are trying to give them advice for their next game. If they had an outstanding performance, be sure to praise them for it and let them know. Nothing will make them feel better if you show just how proud you are of their performance.
As parents, we all know that it is almost impossible to show up to just every event. If obligations get in the way of your child’s sporting events, there are still ways to show your support without actually showing up. If at all possible, drop them off at the event, and take the extra five minutes to walk them inside until they get with their friends. Let them know you will be thinking about them the whole time, wish them luck, and let them know you want to hear about everything when you see them later. When you do see them later, show them you care by keeping your word and asking about how the game went.