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It’s that time of year again; springtime is the time to register children for summer sports programs. Did you know there are programs for children as young as 16 months?

Its not about winning or losing, its about having fun, being active, making new friends, exploring new sports and learning new skills.

In today’s society we often put more emphasis on individual effort than on teamwork. One of the best reasons for getting children into sports programs is to teach them at an early age how to be team players.

Is your child a team player? Are they happy to help out at home, do they include others while playing at daycare or in the playground at school? Children in the habit of sharing responsibilities and working with others — whether at home, daycare or at school — tend to be less self-centered and more respectful, responsible, cooperative, resilient, and self-sufficient.

The best teams are the ones made up of players who work together, encourage one another and support each other. Here are some tips to help your child be a great team player:

  1. There is no “I” in TEAM: This is a popular saying because it’s so true. Children are by nature self-focused, especially at a young age. They want to be the one to kick the ball in for a goal or hit the home run and win the game. Teach your child that no matter how great he is, he’s part of a team, and everyone on that team is a valuable player. Talk about how each person has something to contribute and should be given the chance to play.
  2. Encourage others: Not all teammates will have the same skill level or the same motivation to work hard. Encourage players to practice and work hard by working on your skills together.
  3. Cheer for your teammates: Cheer for your teammates when they are playing well. Even if you are not playing well and feeling discouraged, it’s important to have a positive attitude and continue to encourage your teammates, it helps boost your team’s morale.
  4. Don’t blame others: It is important to stick together and pick each other up after a loss. No one is perfect and mistakes happen, so it is important not to point fingers and blame teammates for a loss.
  5. Show them how to win: A tough thing to teach children is humility. It’s their natural instinct to enthusiastically celebrate their team’s WIN! There is nothing wrong with celebrating their hard work, they should be proud, but the key is to show kindness and respect to the other team. Remind your child what it is like to be on the losing side.
  6. Show them how to lose: “There is nothing worse than a sore loser”. Teaching children to show humility when they win is hard; showing them how to show grace when they lose is even harder. When they lose they are likely feeling anger and resentment towards the other team. Use these opportunities to talk about the importance of being proud of his efforts, even when they don’t result in a win.

Remember, Have fun and GO TEAM!