While I no longer play sports anymore (aside from doing a bit of swimming), I do love to watch the big sporting events on tv.  Even sports I don’t follow or wouldn’t usually be interested in (judo, for example), I will happily watch and am doing during the Glasgow Commonwealth Games this year.  The OH isn’t a fan at all.  He’ll watch football and that’s about it.

So I’m trying to encourage N to watch some of the Commonwealth Games with me to maybe inspire him and also educate him about the other less popular sports.  It’s going better than the World Cup which he wasn’t particularly keen on.  (I do have another reason…to try and cut down on him asking for Peppa Pig all the time).

inspiring children in sport - Bubbablue and me

After a week of the games, we’ve watched:

Rhythmic gymnastics ‘what’s she doing mummy?’, ‘why she got my hoop?’.  If the OH had been in the room, he’d have been trying to get N to say ‘pretty girl’ I’m sure.

Cycling ‘I got a bike mummy’, ‘there’s 2 on that bike’

Judo, which he can now recognise when he sees it.  He hasn’t yet asked why they’re fighting, but hopefully he won’t start launching on his friends at nursery.

Shooting ‘we had shooting at the farm’, ‘why’s she wearing glasses?’

100m sprint qualifying.  I can’t say he was interested in this at all although he had been on the go all weekend, so might have just been a bit tired.

Triathlon relay ‘I’ve got a bike helmet too’, ‘they did a big jump into the water’, ‘they might be swimming with fish in there mummy’

And best of all the swimming.  I was hoping he’d be interested in the swimming as he obviously has lessons himself and is the one he could most relate to.  He has been enthralled by the swimming.  If he’s been playing and we’ve turned on the tv to see the swimming, he’ll immediately stop and look at it, even going to sit somewhere comfortable.  I’ve been amazed at how focused he is.

I’ve been talking him through the strokes they’re swimming, and how much they’re kicking ‘look at their straight kicking legs’ (as like most toddlers he does a very bent knee kick, so doesn’t really go anywhere).  He likes the butterfly the most, but was watching their breathing and faces in the water ‘they blow bubbles mummy’.  It was like toddler commentary ‘watch how they breath, blow bubbles, breath, blow bubbles’ just like he’s taught in the pool.

I was hoping him seeing the backstroke might encourage him to try for longer on his back, but by that stage he was most interested in ‘how do they get out of the pool?’.  There were no steps!

So when we had our swimming lesson this week I was interested to see whether he would be inspired and make an effort, after the last month or so of him being a bit rubbish on the effort and clinginess phase.

It was like a miraculous turnaround (again).  He was jumping (standing and sitting) off the side with no worries.  Then it came to doing swimming with support and then his 123 swim, and he was using his arms as well as legs.  Usually his arms don’t really do anything, but it was brilliant to see it coming together.  I’m not sure who was more shocked, Lynsey the teacher or me!

Despite him loving watching the backstroke, and having swum a width holding a float behind his head a while ago, N wasn’t having any of it this week.  He would go on his back but only with someone supporting him, whether that was myself or Lynsey.  But he’s now happy to give a star float a go.  It might only be fleeting, and only one attempt per lesson, but he’s getting there with it.

practising swimming on his back and kicking

Overall, I’m astounded at how much he seemed to have been inspired watching the Commonwealth Games swimming.  I’m debating recording some of the final races, so the day before lessons we can watch them and hopefully give him a bit of encouragement.

Have your children been interested in the games at all?  How do you encourage them an interest in sport?

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47 Comments

  1. My kids are still inspired when they watch sports they are not accustomed too. I usually see them trying a new sport right after. My kids were involved in sports all through school.

    • That’s just what most people would like to see. Give them the idea to try something new. Thanks for commenting

  2. Leira Pagaspas

    My daughter is doing swimming as well.. She wnats to stop but I am encouraging her to move forward with it.

    • So hard when they want to stop. My brother basically gave up all the hobbies he tried – he was on track for county teams for several sports, but growing pains and changes to training sessions put him off.

  3. I should think the variety in the games would automatically make it a bit more appealing than starting with just one, like in the World Cup. It’s a great idea to intro him to many!

    • I think you’re right there. Keeps the interest into small chunks and much more to talk about with him as well

  4. I can’t wait for my kids to be old enough for sports! It’s such a fantastic way for kids and families to bond!

    • That’s what I would expect for children to get excited about it . I suppose it’s harder keeping them interested after the events are over

  5. I try to encourage mine just by showing up for practices and games. And good for you with your son

  6. Ann Bacciaglia

    My kids are both very athletic. I need to learn a lesson about being active from them.

    • I’m with you on that too. Mine never stops being on the move! I blame blogging.

  7. My son’s about to start his next round of swimming lessons. It’s fun watching him get excited about mastering new skills.

    • So agree, and reckon a lot of the time it’s more exciting for the parent than the child!

  8. I love this! People make sports out to be a bad thing but I think it is really good to learn a bunch of them to give them experience and agility~

    • I don’t think sports could ever be a bad thing (unless you end up taking steroids, or getting over obsessed, gamble too much or any other extremities). Always good as you say, to try out and experience lots before finding what works for you

  9. Aww, you remind me of my Mom. My brother and I grew up watching a lot of sports on TV. Back then it didn’t seem ok with me, but now that I’m an adult I appreciate all those times that we’d sit in front of the TV cheering on my Mom’s favorite teams. It was a good family bonding activity and at the same time, it’s nice to bring that habit with you as you grow up because not everyone can talk to others about sports.

    • You’re probably right on the family viewing and passing it down side. I think it’s so important for children to find something they’re really passionate about, so giving them a breadth of choice helps.

  10. Haven’t watched any games on tv, but my boys have been very busy playing sports and swimming . Love summertime!

  11. I think any child with even a passing interest in sports should give it a shot. Kids need to experience new things. The Commonwealth Games is a great way to introduce sports and the ideas of sportsmanship and competition.

    • I agree. Especially if your home nation’s doing well, it gives them different options to think about

  12. Kungphoo

    This is really good.. i tried to get my son to do sports, he did for a bit, but he said its just not for him.. I wish he would watch sports with me..

  13. Bonnie @ wemake7

    My kids love the water and swimming. Now If I can just get them to be interested in other things like this.

  14. lisa jones

    This Is A Great Idea My Son Wants Nothing To Do With Sports But My Girls Love Them!1

  15. sports are such an important part of a childs development. Not so much winning or losing but learning to play on a team and to lose gracefully.

    • I definitely agree about team sports. It helps so much with other things in life like discipline and health, understanding your own body etc.

  16. Elizabeth Copeland

    My boy loved watching the World Cup. We haven’t watched the Commonwealth Games. If anything, we are probably going to put our youngest in gymnastics with hopes of him diving eventually.

    • N seems to like the diving as well. Can’t see him doing that as he’s not that excited about jumping in or diving in his swimming classes. I’m not sure I could take the early morning training that swimming/diving seems to be!

    • Definitely. It’s an easy way to introduce, and in bitesize chunks so you can dip in and out of interesting sport types

  17. Sounds like you all really bonded over the games. My son isn’t much in to sports so now I just follow his interest.

  18. Gabrielle Lynn O'Brien

    I would have loved it if I was introduced to more sports as a kid. I did soccer and softball, but I always wanted to do dance. I never got the chance to though.

    • We didn’t do dance at school, but I did that outside. I think nowadays schools in the UK have to offer a lot more variety than the old traditional ones

  19. Jessica Peeling

    Wow, it sounds like watching the swimming really helped him — children are amazing at how much they can absorb at such a young age! Floating is always the toughest one to grasp..hang in there. 🙂 I remember being terrified of it at my swimming lessons back in the day.

    • He just wants to kick and wriggle. Keeping still is a struggle for a fidgeter

  20. It’s great that you’re teaching your son about new and different things! I am excited for the Olympic games to come back around. I love watching them on TV with my kids.

    • Just like me. The big events are so much fun as you see so many more sports than usual

  21. This is a great way to get kids interested and excited about sports! Good for you for introducing so many different things to your son.

  22. Michelle Knopp

    I love how you are introducing your son to so many sports. Since my son started playing soccer he is much more interested in watching it on TV with me. Being 5, his attention span is rather short, but he is easily distracted while on the soccer field, too. 🙂

    • We have issues over attention span too, but he’s only 3, so hopefully when he’s a bit older he’ll want to try some sports for himself

  23. Ronda Ogilvie

    That is great you are introducing him to all the sports!

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