How To Keep Your Kids Motivated When They Are Recovering From a Sports Injury
When kids incur sports injuries, it can be difficult to keep their outlook positive.
A few years ago my son hurt his patella tendon in football. It was the first play, in the first game of the season. He had spent all summer looking forward to football camp. He practiced hard with his teammates, five grueling days a week for over a month. When the first game was finally upon us, he was more excited than I had seen him be in a very long time.
Just like that his season was over. A full leg cast for eight weeks and crutches was all he had to show for all that work he put into his game. Not only was this painful and uncomfortable on the exterior, but inside his little heart was shattered. As a parent watching my son experience his first ever broken heart was the toughest thing to witness.
For kids that have sat on the bench due to a sports injury, the pain can go far beyond the physical. Their emotions take a toll as well. They are coping with being unable to do something they love. Oftentimes it’s a sport they have participated in for years. Most aren't mature enough to understand that sometimes life throws a curveball, and we must know how to swing.
Some kids become moody, depressed, or act irrationally while they are taking time off from sports after an injury. Naturally, parents worry when their once motivated child suddenly becomes despondent.
How can parents motivate their kids while they are resting from a sports injury?
Feed Their Passions
While this sabbatical wasn't a planned one, this could be a good time to explore other interests. What other interests does your child have?
Does he have an interest in books? Does she love the arts? Taking the opportunity to learn more about those other things may distract them enough to maintain their good spirits.
They may even be excited about focusing on something new temporarily. Who knows, maybe this will ignite a fire they can continue to pursue, even after they're back in the game.
Feed Their Tummies
Being on the "injured list" isn't an excuse to stop taking care of their bodies. While they may be tempted to lounge around and be less strict on their diets, not eating right can take a toll on their physical performance when they are ready to return to playing.
Not eating right can also have a negative affect on their minds and outlook. It's known that there is a link between the foods we eat and depression.
Make sure that your kiddo gets plenty of fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats and proteins while they are resting from a sports injury.
Some kids love to talk about anything and everything, while others are less chatty. Regardless of which category your child falls under, getting them open up about their feelings can be extremely helpful.
Reeling from the effects of a sports injury is a trying time for kids. This is a time where they can become frustrated and melancholy. Keeping their feelings quiet can manifest itself into a poor disposition, and an overall cranky kid.
It's easy to get equally as balked when having to deal with them, but we shouldn't. This is a fantastic chance for parents to be that ear to listen, when kids need to vent.
Having them connect with a teammate or friend that can empathize with them can also help them keep their heads up.
Get to Practice!
Feeling like they are still part of a team that in turn is rooting for them to come back, can help keep the blues away. For many moms and dads, having their children unable to play due to injury may seem like they're getting a break. Not so fast!
Your child should show up for practice. While they can't participate in the sport, they can be there to keep tabs on the team. They will still be responsible for learning plays, so listening to the coach's instruction can help them from falling too far behind.
In some cases, they can take part in some physical activity. It would be a good idea to do whatever they are able to, and their doctor allows.
Being there to support the team can make them feel like they are still a part of it.
They Will Come Back Stronger
My son eventually healed up and got back in the game, but not without a few tough lessons learned. One of the things he learned is that life is not all about sports (gasp!). He caught up on all of the books on his list from school, and actually discovered a love for reading he didn't know he had. My boy even picked up the guitar that was collecting dust in his room, and practiced his chords on occasion.
The biggest lesson learned was that he can't let his situation dictate his emotions and how he treats others. We talked about this quite a bit during his injury time. He grew a bit more mature throughout the process, and it was evident in his attitude as the weeks went by.
Has your athlete been asked to rest from a sport due to injury? What else can you suggest for keeping kids motivated during a stint on the injured list?
Barbara is the mom behind the blog, Modern Sports Mom. She began writing a craft and lifestyle blog in 2012. As life evolved, and her boys became more involved in sports, she aimed to create a site that would resonate with moms like her, and in 2017 Modern Sports Mom was born. A baseball and football mom, she is fueled by her strong faith, dedication to her family, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee! Barbara lives in beautiful Southern California with her husband, kids, dog, and cat.