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Do you insist on your children doing sports outside of school?

(34 Posts)
Cornflakemum Sun 06-Sep-09 15:01:47

We have two DSs. Neither is particularly gifted in sport, but both are strong and fit, tall for their age and capable on the sports field.

If we left it up to them, neither of them would do any sport outside of school, but DH and I feel that they should, so have more or less said that we want them each to have at least one sporting 'hobby' that they do at weekends.

DS2 said he would continue rugby, which all his friends go to. Today was the first day of the new season, and from 7 a.m. to 9.30. a.m. he whinged constantly about not wanting to go/it not being fair/ how he hates it. DH took him anyway, and when he came home he was happy/ bouncy and had had fun with his mates (as we knew he would).
This pattern will now be reapeated every Sunday for the next 30 weeks sad.

It feels like the right thing to do, and if he hated it we would, of course, stop going, but the Sunday morning 'battle' is so wearing, I sometimes think why do we bother?

castille Sun 06-Sep-09 15:09:39

A case of can't-be-bothered syndrome, I thinkwink

I'd stick with it, rugby will teach him a lot about committment and team spirit as long as he enjoys it when he's there.

bellavita Sun 06-Sep-09 15:38:32

I would never make the DS's partake in something they didn't want to do. However, my boys play out most of the time and get plenty of exercise.

dogofpoints Sun 06-Sep-09 15:49:55

No, have never insisted on it.

As it happens, both dds have an out-of-school sport they do for part of the year. More importantly, they play outise d a lot, cycle, scooter etc

RubberDuck Sun 06-Sep-09 15:53:48

Interested why you specify sport rather than fitness? I loathed team sports as a child absolutely loathed it and even just doing school sport (no enforced 'hobby' by my parents thank god) put me off any activity for a very very long time.

It's only been the last couple of years I've got really into cycling, strength training and in the last few months a martial art and FINALLY I've discovered exercise can be fun. It makes me really cross that team sport was forced upon me as a child and that I didn't discover I wasn't totally incompetent at physical stuff as a result earlier.

Could you not just make a conscious effort to do something energetic as a family at the weekend - hiking/cycling/swimming/geo-caching... there's lots of different ways to get active without forcing the same thing on them every week. I just think you're going to end up putting them off for life and it being totally counter-productive, quite frankly.

HerBeatitude Sun 06-Sep-09 15:54:38

Yes, swimming.

Have told them they can give up when they've got their life-saving certificate.

Everhthing else I'm relaxed about. They know how to cycle (and have bikes and use them) and how to ice-skate and roller-skate and the other stuff they learn at school and if they express interest in continuing it outside school, I'll let them - but I'm not going to force them to do anything other than swimming (because I think that's a really important life skill to be able to do properly) because I just don't have time and want to be able to fit in other, unstructured things with htem.

dogofpoints Sun 06-Sep-09 15:56:18

What is your sport, cornflake? Could you do it with your dss perhaps?

snorkie Sun 06-Sep-09 16:16:52

It is healthy to do some sport definitely and school provision isn't always very good, especially if your dc hang back with the more reluctant ones. If he's enjoying it once he's there then grit your teeth & endure the whinging! If you don't he'll probably find something else to whinge about & drive you mad by either staying in bed all morning or glued to some electronic game instead. He might even surprise you and grow out of the whinging in time anyway. How old is he?

snorkie Sun 06-Sep-09 16:27:37

I would include cycling, fitness training, martial arts etc. as sport rubberduck & assumed the OP did too - I don't think she specified team sports. It sounds as though the OPs Ds chose rugby out of presumably a fairly wide choice & is now grumbling about getting off his backside, but is glad he did once he has iyswim. Both my dc have gone through phases of winging about swimming, but we've encouraged them to continue, sometimes with some changes to the amount they do & the phase passes (& they get really keen again). At the moment they are both glad they've continued. I suppose it does depend on the degree of reluctance though.

I do like the idea of a family fitness activity like orienteering or something though if that's what the dc would prefer.

RubberDuck Sun 06-Sep-09 16:37:12

I agree that fitness training, martial arts are sports (albeit not team sports) - but my point was that I would never have tried them because of enforced sports earlier on putting me off and me just assuming I wasn't "sporty".

Messing around on a bike, going for a long walk with your family or going to find a geocache can equally encourage an active lifestyle without feeling enforced. And also far less resentment in your participation when your parents are joining in and not sat on the sidelines being unsympathetic when you complain!

RubberDuck Sun 06-Sep-09 16:39:48

For the record: I do encourage my kids to do swimming, but that's a potentially life-saving skill and I've told them they can give up when they can swim the width of the pool - as that is enough skill that would get them out of trouble if necessary. Fortunately, other than a brief wobble by ds1 for a term, they love it and ds1 has carried on with it even though he can swim the required width now.

OurLadyOfPerpetualSupper Sun 06-Sep-09 16:52:08

If they're both well-built and strong for their age they might appreciate judo.

Both my DSes (14 and 8) have recently taken this up and they love it.

The training is very disciplined and looks to be physically quite hard, so is really building up strength and endurance, as, I'm sure, does most martial arts training.

As it happens, they also do rugby, but it may be that, as someone else said, your boys just don't get much out of team sports; no harm in letting them at least try something new.

And we always say to our oldest, on the odd time he tries to dip out due to tiredness after a late night, it's not fair on the coaches and his team-mates if he starts to go part time - you can't dip in and out of a team. Seems to work.

fluffles Sun 06-Sep-09 17:05:18

do you think it's the sunday morning thing that's an issue - would they be more 'up for' something that is on a weekday evening?

(i know i like a lazy sunday morning)

weegiemum Sun 06-Sep-09 17:10:47

I don't insist on organised sports, but do insist on exercise.

My 3 are all quite sporty though - dd1 adn ds have just strted playing rugby, dd2 has swimming lessons, they all go swimming twice a week with me, play out, ride bikes, walk to the shops etc .....

Cornflakemum Sun 06-Sep-09 19:45:14

They're still pretty young - 7 and 9.

Yes- I mean fitness, rather than exercise. We already do quite a lot as a family - tennis in the park, cycling. They've both learnt to swim.

I guess the advantage of team sports at this age is that someone else does the organising, otherwise it's up to DH and I to provide the 'activity' IYSWIM.

When he comes home from rugby he's full of it - and says he's really enjoyed himself, and given that all his close friends do it at the moment I think it's quite important for friendship building/ team spirit etc.

I just dread the 'Sunday Morning Process' though when we go through it all again!

My fitness tends to be running & aerobics/ weight-training, so quite hard to do that with the kids at the moment (although DS1 has been running with me).

sherby Sun 06-Sep-09 19:49:13

DD does karate on a sat morn, which I do insist on. I would not have a child especially a girl growing up these days without the skills to protect herself if needs be <I realise this is not the right on approach etc etc>

dogofpoints Sun 06-Sep-09 20:00:05

What if you said, keep ot up till Christmas and then decide. That's what I'd do but I'd be prepared to let them give up if they wanted to.

If you really don't want him to drop rugby, I suppose you can't really give that choice.

choosyfloosy Sun 06-Sep-09 20:07:16

Next time he comes back full of beans (assuming he does), say to him that if there is any whinging next Sunday, you will make him run 4 x round the rugby pitch after the game. I HATE whinging.

But would always be sympathetic to any request to give up team sport. Completely different situation here though.

Bellsa Sun 06-Sep-09 20:51:37

ds does swimming as I think it's important to learn, and we do karate together, as I wanted to learn a sport with him. I think I will also encourage him to do rugby, but won't over push. Having said that I do think that kids say they don't want to go alot, but like it when they get there. Like when you go to the gym, even though you don't want to but feel great afterwards? So I think on reflection I will push a bit, as I don't want him to be a total lardarse...

paisleyleaf Sun 06-Sep-09 20:55:44

It's only swimming I insist on (DD is only 4 mind you).

TBH, I'm a bit the same as your DS. I used to do karate, and could never be bothered to go - but felt really good about myself afterwards if I did.
Same with exercise DVDs, and anything like that.

Hulababy Sun 06-Sep-09 20:57:27

No, I don't insist 7y DD does out of school sports. She does do plenty at school anyway, and is very active naturally in her play, etc. Her extra curricular ctivites are chosen by her and are linked to her interests; I wouldn't dream of dictating to her what she can and can't do as I really want her to enjoy them.

However, through chose she has restarted swimming lessons once a week which she is enjoying. Last year she was doing Playball; that has not stopped but she is hoping to start cheerleading from next week.

Cornflakemum Sun 06-Sep-09 21:30:21

If you have kids who are naturally very active/ outdoorsy/ sporty etc I can see that there wouldn't be a need to do the 'pushing' (wrong word, but YKWIM...)

Seriously though, if we didn't sign them up for things and take them they would never do anything! I suppose at this age DH & I feel it's a case of give them a shot at all sorts of things and see what 'sticks' so they can make a semi-informed choice as they grow up.

My OP was really about asking if anyone else continues to try to motivate their kids to do sport/ exercise/ activities they think is good for them (the kids) even in the face of continued whingeing.

I have no ambition for my DC to be professional even county sportsmen, but I would like them to experience of variety of different sports (something which DH & I both felt we lacked in our childhood). It sometimes feels like a fine line between 'encouraging' and 'nagging' though!

Cornflakemum Sun 06-Sep-09 21:34:20

Am interested in Bellavita's comment:

"I would never make the DS's partake in something they didn't want to do"

Clearly there is a difference between a child being e.g. petrified of doing something, or vehemently opposed to it vs just a bit reluctant or timid of trying something.

Don't you think that sometimes a parent does 'know best' and needs to play a role in encouraging etc?

ABetaDad Sun 06-Sep-09 21:39:16

Cornflakemum - DSs both started Judo at the weekend. It was actually quite inspiring to watch 30 boys and girls (age 6 - 12) working incredibly hard for 2 hours and being so disciplied.

Our DSs loved it and were exhausted after it.

roisin Sun 06-Sep-09 21:45:14

The thing we found is that round here after the age of about 7 or 8 most of the clubs are really only interested in children that show some talent, skill or aptitude for the sport. After a while it can be really miserable for the children if they are clearly the worst in the group, despite trying hard.

My boys gradually dropped sporting activities from the age of about 8, although they swam for longer.

I would love it if there were more activities around aimed at the bottom 50% of children in terms of sportiness. But instead it's always aimed at the top 25%.

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