Jane Kilkenny

Jane Kilkenny

By Jane Kilkenny

Finding positive role models for our kids can be challenging.  Our traditional superheroes are fantasy characters that kids love to idolize.   Fantasy characters are an excellent way to encourage kids to use their imagination and have some fun.  Real Superheroes in the Australian summer of sport provide parents with an array of athletes that are ideal role models for our children.

What are the key lessons our kids can learn from sport and superstar athletes?

Practice improves skills.  This applies to any endeavor that kids undertake and is a crucial lesson to learn.  Encouraging your child to practice, even from a very young age, is a key aspect of development.  Physical development requires consistent practice of the fundamental motor skills and mental development and literacy also require consistent skill practice.

Emotional balance and emotional outbursts.  The sporting arena provides so many examples of how an emotional outburst does not change the outcome of a situation and it’s a great way to teach kids this lesson.  What is more effective is talking about managing your emotions and focus on problem solving.   An extension of this concept is looking at persistence and commitment and how these can provide significant rewards.

Winning and losing with humility.  This is one of the most challenging lessons for kids to learn.  Sport provides so many examples of both the positive and negative aspects of this important concept.  Choose your superheroes wisely and ensure that their behavior is consistent with what you would like to see in your kids.

Our sporting superheroes can have a major impact on the future health of our kids and their levels of activity.  The success of Australian tennis player Ashleigh Barty should provide an excellent source of inspiration for young girls.  There are so many positive factors for parents to take from her story in helping to guide their children.  Words like persistence, commitment and humility all flow as easily as the shots from her racquet.  She is in a unique position to motivate young girls to persist with their sport which is crucial at a time when we are seeing record low levels of activity in our youth, particularly our young girls.

So take some inspiration from our sporting superheroes.  Encourage your kids to reach for their dreams in their chosen field.  Teach them persistence, consistency, desire and trust in the process of developing your skills with practice.  These are valuable lessons for life.


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