Initiate an active lifestyle with your children & family

Being an avid sports person who is almost game enough to try most sports, I have often thought about the support I had when I was younger. (I remember vividly that when it came to sporting involvements, I had to force my way through ‘defiantly’ as my parents (mainly my mum) didn’t favour it. If not, I had to do it under wraps until either my younger brother or myself “picha lobang” (let the cat out of the bag). The only time my parents showed their support for sports was when they were quick enough to sign me up for the mandatory swimming classes. At that age of 5, I felt “forced”” into a sport – swimming. Not that I dread swimming, but at that age, getting into the cold water was the most challenging part of swimming! HAH!

Our family seldom engaged in physical activities as a whole. My mum, being a traditional mother, didn’t really like the idea of me taking up Taekwondo in my younger years. She was afraid I would beat up my younger brother because he could get rather irritating some times, well, most times. My dad remained the neutral party in the family. He would just say “be careful in whatever you are doing” and somehow the reverse always happens.
So far I had suffered a dislocated index finger from basketball, bruises galore from Taekwondo and softball as well as gotten Osgood Schlatter disease (an inflammation of the area just below the knee where the tendon from the kneecap (patellar tendon) attaches to the shinbone (tibia)) from my adolescent years, a result from being active too quickly. Though I am nowhere near Olympic level, I still take my sports (currently golf, badminton and chasing after my 2 year old) seriously at my current age. Upon reflecting, I often wonder how I can provide a better sporting experience for my son growing up. Simple, the first step to being a supportive sport-parent is by getting the whole family to participate together. I concluded at a few points after having some small discussions with my friends who are fellow parents and my younger colleagues who had a different experience from mine, better from the way I see it.

1. Learn to take your child’s word seriously; sometimes if they say it is painful and do not enjoy, try not to force them. It is maybe really true. Lying is not a natural mechanism to them. Unless they are being forced repeatedly to do something they do not like. Instead give them a timeout from the sport and understand what is their concern, and if it is unnecessary to carry on at that point in time, we definitely can revisit it at a later stage. Remember “learning is forever”?

2. If your child is genuinely interested in a certain sport, be prepared to let your child take it to a step higher, or try out the sport with your child together. The child should be given a time and space to play when they are growing up, besides creativity happens during play.

3. Try to encourage the family to be active together, fix a weekend where everyone (juniors and seniors or even extended) is home and head out to get some sun and physical activities! It can be flying a kite, riding bicycles, rollerblading, fishing or having a picnic at the park with the pets around. I am sure everyone can have fun together! There are so many things to do when everyone gets together!

4. Ok now when you start to know your child is serious and is keen to compete. Preferable school choices could also help in this situation; enrolling or transfer to a school that has got track records in the sport your child has excelled in. At this stage, you probably have to start to look at professional coaching or proper strength & conditioning for your child to develop the muscles necessary for the sport.

5. Congratulations, you have started to get everyone active, now the question is, can you get the momentum going? Chances are YES! Everyone is probably looking forward to the next session! Do ensure you are not being burned out from constantly always trying to get the village together. Have a co-partner to assist in the arrangement too!

Roy Chan, Senior Manager
FiTSA / Events Management