As a business that offers children's football coaching in Leeds we speak to a lot of parents who understand the benefits of their children playing sport but their son/daughter simply isn't interested.
Getting kids active through sport goes a long way to keeping our little ones healthy in both body and mind, but what can you do if your child says they don't want to do it?
Don't force it
First thing to understand is that if you force them into something, even if you're doing it for the right reasons, it may result in them developing a negative feeling towards playing sport.
Age can also play a part in this. We've found the very young ones (4-6 years old) can take a 2-3 weeks to really get comfortable. Put yourself in their tiny shoes - it can look pretty scary for them turning up to football training with loads of other children confidently running around doing the activity.
Usually we find that confidence is the main issue. They often don't feel good enough (for a variety of reasons) and therefore will do all they can to stay away from playing football, tennis, rugby etc.
One thing we recommend to parents in the above instances is to simply come to the session and let their child go at their own pace. Even if it means standing near the other children and just kicking a football to their child whilst the session is going on around them, it goes a long way to getting them comfortable with the environment. Once they have had some time watching other children like them doing it they can all of a sudden get a surge of confidence.
On the flip side, you may force them to go to a children's football training session (for example) and they end up loving it. The risk of them hating it is there, though, so tread carefully.
Speak to the coach/sports provider
Before you sign your child up to a sports team or sports provider be sure to ask the coach what they have in place for absolute beginners or children who aren't confident.
You can really help your child by taking them somewhere that caters to their needs. If you take them somewhere hyper competitive or geared towards children with high sporting ability levels then you run the risk of destroying their confidence even more.
Don't start competitive
This leads on to competitive sports.
If your child is already showing a lack of interest then one of the worst things to do would be to take them somewhere hyper-competitive. This will not help them.
If they aren't showing a particular interest right away then that is likely to decrease if they are thrown into an environment where every other child is competing for a starting place on the team.
This was one of the reasons we started Foot-Tech Academy. We are able to provide football coaching in a non-pressurised environment that bridges the gap between playing football and getting into a team.
We focus on kids football training in Leeds but you'll find a host of other coaching businesses in your location that cater for other sports.
This can be a great way of getting your child into sport in a way that helps them as an individual instead of a team which needs to, a lot of time, focus on what is best for the group as a whole.
Just let it be...for now
Final thing is to not panic.
We know that sport is a great thing for children and can understand why so many parents want their child to get into a sporting activity.
Our advice is to not rush it. We have seen countless times that children can one day go from being completely uninterested in anything other than watching other children play with toys on YouTube (don't get us started on that!) to then wanting to play and talk about nothing else other than football.
It can literally happen over-night and is often due to their friends at school getting into it.
If your child simply does not want to do anything sport-related then it is a case of making sure you keep them active in other ways whether it be trips to the park or things like trampolines etc. There are loads of different ways to keep active whereby your child has fun and stays healthy.
Foot-Tech Academy provides innovative children's football coaching in Leeds for boys and girls aged 4-14.
We also provide specialist speed training, after-school clubs and holiday camps.
For more info check out www.foot-techacademy.co.uk