Preschoolers, sport and the London 2012 Olympics

swimming with arm bandsWe can’t ignore the fact that the Olympics are on our doorstep, one family member was telling me how excited they are to have been able to get tickets for the event and to be taking their eldest along to introduce him to the fascination that is competitive sport. An unforgettable experience and one likely to stay with any child forever.

We didn’t bother trying for tickets. The girls are too young to appreciate it and the thought of travelling into London during that period – especially after the diabolical experience on our recent Diamond Jubilee visit – was enough to convince us to stay home and watch our favourite sports on the TV.

Part of me would love to be there, I would pay gold to see the opening ceremony live and I have my fingers crossed that we pull off a good show. It will be hard to follow the Chinese and their awesome events.

But how about my children? How am I ‘raising future Olympians?’

Sport has always been a part of my life, as a child I participated in gymnastics, ballet, hockey, netball and swimming. At one stage of my school years I had a different sport each night of the week. For this reason it has been natural for me to encourage all of my children into the world of sport but without pressure on them of Great Expectations. In my book it was always about movement, enjoyment, learning to win (and lose) gracefully and to have FUN.

kids sking Folgaria Italy

Living in an Italian mountain resort whilst raising my older two, it was perfectly natural to put them on skis aged 3 and let them participate in the Scuola Materna Ski School where parents could choose downhill or cross country. We chose downhill ski and both of my children went into the ski team which meant all day Saturday on the slopes training and rising at 5am on a Sunday morning to get to the ski school minibus to take them to competitions.

learning to snowboard

Both children got to a point when they asked to stop. Should I have pushed them? I don’t think it would have changed their minds as they’d already been made.

We also used the local swimming club once they were old enough and they are both great swimmers. Both have taken lessons on Lake Garda for windsurfing and Thomas’ latest passion is kite surfing. I also treated them to scuba diving lessons in Sardegna on our last holiday together before I returned to the UK, a gift I hope they will take with them through life.

learning to snowboard

Therefore it’s natural for me to encourage the girls into sport. This year they have participated in the local gymnastics club and got first level medals.

gymnastics

They’ve also been taking swimming lessons at the local pool which they love and they are so confident in the water now. I would hesitate to say it but they are almost swimming with the odd doggy paddle coming into use as they try out their newly learnt skills.

swimming collage

Am I raising little Olympians?

The answer is no….but I am offering them the opportunity to try sports and decide for themselves if they like it or not and if they want to carry on with them.

I think that parents have to dedicate a lot of their time and energy if they want their children competing on a higher scale, I’d be prepared to do this but I’d have to know their heart was in it. It certainly won’t be me pressurising them, it must come from them.

pony riding

Future Olympian equestrians maybe?

Then I will gladly take up my time to ferry them all over and should they show promise all the better….in the meantime let them enjoy sport as a fun activity to make new friends and learn new life skills.

I’m entering this post into the BritMums #PGRaisingOlympians Celebrate Their Success Linky.

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