The Olympics are a fan-favorite time of year for a multitude of reasons. Whether it’s the winter, summer Olympics or Paralympics, it’s expected that you’ll find athletes with superhuman abilities and the big life moments that led them there. Simply put, it’s a time filled with a never-ending well of inspiration.
These incredible displays of athleticism inspire people of all ages, adults to children alike. But the most exciting and heartwarming part of it all is the mark it leaves on children around the world. Parents and families take to social media to share videos and pictures of their children hooked on watching the spectacle. They’re inspired by what they see and are curious about how they can be just like that athlete one day.
Although it may not seem like it, the time after the Olympics has finally held its closing ceremonies can be the perfect opportunity to begin to push your child to explore what inspires them. The age old question is always, “How? How do I do it?” The answer to that question, which is a lot easier said than done, is: “Talk to your child.”
Not all children will feel inspired and driven by the same thing, so it’s important to first listen to your child and watch what they gravitate towards. Then, you can begin to build some activities and language to push them a little further. Here are 5 fun things you can do at home to help to foster a sense of pride and inspiration in your own home:
1. Hold a family awards ceremony. Your child can make certificates or ribbons to hand out, celebrating their own personal talents and those of others in the family.
2. Select a book focusing on inspiration and being your best self. Find moments during the story to ask your child questions during some inspiring moments like, “Have you ever felt like the character when she was in that situation?” See our recommended reading below.
3. Start a scrapbook together. Have your child document his or her “firsts” or special accomplishments. Share the pictures and tell stories about how proud you felt seeing him or her do the things in the pictures.
4. Share information about your family’s culture with your child. Explain to them some of the cultural values and traditions that your family holds and how it makes you feel proud. Talk about your own story growing up!
5. Host your own mini Olympics. Pick some Olympic fan favorites like soccer or a track race to host right in your own backyard, or use some of your own family’s favorite games. It can even be an Olympics filled with board games like Scrabble or Twister! Take some inspiration from one of our own Academies, Kiddie Academy of Fisher’s Landing here!
As we talk about inspiration and pride, an often-overlooked aspect is also helping children learn how to deal with failure. They won’t be successful every time they attempt something, but that’s natural and is merely an outcome, not a reflection on the child.
When things don’t work out, assure them that you’re proud of the effort, that you love them regardless of the outcome and that next time, the outcome could be different. Talk to them about the emotions they felt towards losing and what good sportsmanship looks like. Even in the face of a loss or undesired outcome, it’s important to congratulate the winner and show respect to teammates, coaches, and opponents. In addition to bolstering their self-esteem and sense of pride, this teaches them about resilience.
There are some terrific books for helping your child learn about what it means to be proud. Here are a few classics you might consider reading together:
- Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
- Bounce Back! A Book About Resilience by Cheri Meiners
- Being Bella: Discovering How to Be Proud of Your Best! by Cheryl Zuzo