Generally speaking, motivation is the drive and interest to achieve a goal or complete a task. Motivation can be a tricky topic for young athletes. But ultimately as parents, the best thing you can do for your child is to be there to offer support, guidance, and encouragement.
Here are five suggestions to motivate and support your athlete:
1. Start small.
Anytime your child feels overwhelmed, it may cause their motivation to continue doing an activity to drop. You can help your child avoid feeling overwhelmed by starting small and gradually building over time. Rather than enrolling your child in a gymnastics program where there are classes every day, start with one or two classes per week and gauge your child’s interest.
2. Listen and show interest.
Let your child’s involvement with gymnastics be their own. Instead of letting your motivation or intentions overtake your child’s, let them take their own journey. Listen to your child tell you how practice went that day and ask questions to learn what they like about gymnastics.
3. Keep it fun.
Gymnastics is not life; it is a small part of a bigger picture. Instead of pressuring your child always to push to do more, focus on helping your child find enjoyment in gymnastics. Find out what makes it fun for them and foster that feeling. Encourage your child to hand out with his or her teammates, but don’t force anything. Kids are more likely to continue activities if they’re having fun.
4. Be careful of comparison.
Every child who participates in gymnastics will learn and progress at a different rate. Be careful that you’re not comparing your child to another. Instead, offer support and celebrate with your athlete when they make both small and large individual improvements.
5. Expect interest and motivation to fluctuate.
Motivation is hardly ever consistent. Some days you may feel excited to do something. The next day could be the exact opposite. Kids feel the same way. If your child seems less motivated to go to gymnastics one day, it might just be an off day. Do your best to understand the cause of the lack of motivation and offer support. Sometimes support may come in the form of gently pushing your child to get them to practice. Other days support is understanding that your child needs to take a day off.
At Kids First Gymnastics in Cedar Rapids, we provide a safe, fun, and positive environment where kids can learn and grow. To learn more about how to get started, contact us.