As the parent of a young athlete, you probably know all too well that it can sometimes be quite difficult to find time to really talk to your child. Between all the games and practices, there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
Fortunately, the important thing isn’t really how much you talk; it’s what you say when you do. Below, we’ve listed some of the things you absolutely need to be saying to your young hockey player on a regular basis.
How was your day?
This is a simple question, but if you ask it every day, you give your child a chance to open up about what’s bothering him on a regular basis. Just make sure you’re prepared to listen if the answer isn’t quite what you expect one day.
Asking this question before you ask about anything else- such as how practice went or the score of the game- also shows your little one that he himself, not his performance as an athlete, is what matters most to you.
It’s not about winning
Sometimes, it’s easier to say these words than it is to actually mean them. Work on not just repeating this rote phrase to your child but on actually believing and living it.
Yes, you can want your child to do well, but when you remind your little one of this regularly, you make it more likely that he’ll actually enjoy playing the game and not base his or her worth and happiness on its outcome.
There’s really nothing better for building your child’s confidence than offering him simple verbal praise.
Just make sure that the only time you praise your youngster isn’t when he does something well athletically. By all means, praise him then, but also be sure that you’re praising things like doing something nice for someone else or making a good grade. You want your child to know that you’re proud of all the positive things he does, not just his sporting ability.
I love you
Finally, don’t forget the most important words of all: “I love you.” Say these words to your child every single day, preferably multiple times a day.
Say them when you’re angry. Say them when your child has done well or made a mistake. Love is the most important thing you can give to your child, hands down. It shouldn’t be contingent on anything. You, as a parent, are the one person who must love your child unconditionally, so above all else, say these words to him or her and say them often.