Tips for Raising a Good Sport

Good sportsmanship is important beyond just the game. Teach your kids this life skill w/ a few tips from PBSParents.org. Don't forget - Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon's "Jackie Robinson" airs April 11-12 at 9/8c on @PBS.
  1. 1.
    Explain what sportsmanship is — using kid-friendly terms
    As with any behavior, the first step is to let your kids know what’s expected.
  2. 2.
    Respect the coach‘s role
    Sometimes well-meaning parents will try to instruct from the sidelines — only to get in the way of the actual coach. Your eyes are probably trained only on your child, but the coach is looking out for the entire team.
  3. 3.
    Celebrate success as a group
    NFL players may do individual victory dances in the end zone after every touchdown, but that doesn’t mean your kid should too. Keep celebrations low-key and communal, like a group high five.
  4. 4.
    Be a role model on the sidelines
    As a spectator, your job is to be a force of positivity. Hand out high fives as if they were Halloween candy. Congratulate both teams on a game well played.
  5. 5.
    Accept loss gracefully
    When your child’s team comes up short, encourage her to congratulate her opponents for a game well played.
  6. 6.
    Don‘t make it all about winning and losing
    Sure, trophies are cool, but the focus should be on non-tangibles like learning the game, figuring out how to interact with others and — especially — just having fun.
  7. 7.
    Present consequences for poor sportsmanship
    Support the coach’s decision to remove someone from the game if they are showing a bad attitude.
  8. 8.
    Avoid comparing kids to one another
    We should focus on kids as individuals – emphasizing progress not compared to teammates, but based on our own child’s skill development over time.
  9. 9.
    Commit to having your child attend both practices and games
    Your child should understand how his or her absence affects the team – and attending practice is a great way to teach kids about commitment.
  10. 10.
    Remember that your child is not you
    You might have been the star of the basketball team, but that doesn’t mean that your child will fall in love with the sport. Try to keep the pressure off!