Can too much football be a bad thing for our children? Kids Coach Naomi Richards takes a look at how parents can help prevent a passion from becoming an obsession.
What do you do when all your child thinks, talks and dreams about is football?
It is in their blood – they want to play it all the time and their football goes everywhere with them. How do we keep their passion alive for football whilst not letting it take over their lives and those of the people around them?
In my opinion we should encourage them to play - after all, why knock a child’s passion for sport regardless of whether they are good at it or not?
We should also be talking to them about it too - share their interest, be supportive.
What I do think is important though is that we help them keep their passion in perspective. Let them go to their practice and participate in games.
Allow them to take the football to the park or on days out if the location merits time kicking a ball around, but perhaps put some boundaries around when they are at home.
For example, they could spend a certain amount of time playing football in the garden but then have to do something else.
You could even put some rules in place so that they have to talk about other topics, i.e. when you are sitting having meals together ‘football’ could be a banned word at the table or they are allowed to mention it once.
We can also get them to understand that there are other activities they can do outside of football and some of these activities they may actually enjoy. Maybe you could sit down with your child and list other things they are interested in or would like to try.
It may be hard at first so start off with a list of what they are good at - e.g. designing stuff, making things - and discuss a project they could do or you could do together.
Explain to them that you love that they are so passionate about a sport and would never stop them doing it, but it is good to have lots of different interests and experiences.
If they only focus on football they may miss out on nurturing other parts of their life.
It is very easy for children to get obsessed about sport. It is a fantastic bug to have. Unfortunately for those around them that may not like football, it can seem obsessive or annoying, especially for siblings, so encourage family ‘football free’ time too.
Naomi Richards is The Kids Coach – a life coach for children. Her first book, The Parent's Toolkit, shares key life tools for you to help your children successfully navigate their own childhood problems and grow up into happy, confident and resilient young adults.
The Parent's Toolkit was described by The Sun as “clear and to the point... a must-read for parents”. It is published by Vermillion and is available to buy on Amazon.co.uk.
Put your questions to The Kids Coach
If you would like to get Naomi's advice on any topic relating to young footballers - from working well with others to dealing with a lack of confidence on the pitch - please leave a comment below and it could well be addressed in next month's column.
We look forward to hearing from you!