by Lianne Castelino www.whereparentstalk.com
If I had a penny for every time my kids said ‘no’ to trying something new – be it a food item, clothing, activity or sport – we’d be zillionaires. Okay, maybe just billionaires!
Truth is most kids for the most part will reject anything foreign, never-seen-before, new. But as a parent, we cannot be deterred.
Case and point. If I accepted all the responses of one of my children, they would never have participated in any sport — ever. This is the same child who this past spring loved every minute of a zany schedule that included — ball hockey, lacrosse, soccer, baseball and oh yes, umpiring baseball as well. I should add that this all came on the heels of hockey season which typically goes from August to April. In fact, he actually suggested adding lacrosse — which he adored.
Scheduling, shuttling, and the endless piles of laundry are a joy to my husband and I, if our kids are enjoying themselves, learning a new skill and learning the principles of sportsmanship, fair play and proper technique. Which for the most part, they usually do.
Our philsophy on sports and other activities is simple — allow all three of them to try as many things as they like and that we can afford — expose them to a variety — and then let them choose what they may want to focus on.
For my husand and I, ‘exposure is everything’.
The point is, you cannot always go by what your kids respond. With all due respect, they don’t really know better, do they? Gentle prodding never hurt anyone and that’s the key. You may have to take them kicking and screaming to whatever activity the first couple of times, but if they give it a chance they will likely be pleasantly surprised!
I’m always fairly shocked when I hear parents say, “Johnny didn’t want to try hockey or art class or singing or whatever.” I silently think to myself — well that when “you, the parent needs to step in.” That is YOUR cue.
No one is suggesting force them relentlessly, but there are merits to teaching them the joys of ‘trying something new’ — be it on the dinner table, or elsewhere.
Jennifer Heil, Olympic gold and silver medallist and one of the most recognized faces in sport, shares a similar story.