Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

A parent primer on getting - and keeping - your kid active

Allison Wong plays badminton at her home in Vancouver.

JOHN LEHMANN/The Globe and Mail

- Talk to your children about their interests. Find out what sports or physical activities appeal to them.

- Recognize and respect your child's reasons for playing a sport or practising a physical activity. They might want to compete for medals and titles, or simply to have fun and socialize through activity.

- Be positive about your child's efforts, regardless of results. (Research has shown that children retreat from activity when their parents become demanding about results.)

Story continues below advertisement

- Support your child's activities as a parent, not as a 24-hour coach. Your role is to help with transportation, good nutrition, rest and a balanced lifestyle.

- For girls 6-8 and boys 6-9, check if your child's activities address the ABCs of athletic development - agility, balance, coordination and speed.

- For girls 8-11 and boys 9-12, identify three sports or physical activities that your child enjoys and focus on those during the course of a year.

- For girls 11-15 and boys 12-16, celebrate it if your child is identified as a special talent, but be cautious about having them specialize in one sport, event or position before age 13-14.

- Be careful your child doesn't over-train or over-compete, as injury and burnout can result.

Adapted from Tips for Parents, Canadian Sport for Life.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to