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Monday, May 24, 2010

Adventures in T-Ball

As I mentioned a month or so ago, this is the Pirate's first year of T-Ball. He was initially very excited to be signed up for it and took great pride in showing off his new cleats.  We had a handful of practices that were a bit of a struggle for him (and  Mike, who is coaching.) His attention span isn't quite ready for an hour or so of paying attention, and we've really been struggling to get him to participate. The first game went ok and we were encouraged. The second game was a disaster of epic proportions.  Saturday we had our first day game and it was terrific. We praised and praised and praised him for doing the most basic of participating, and in the end he still said it was "too long" but the game went well and there was no daisy picking in the outfield.

We have five games remaining and I suspect it will still be a struggle to get him motivated for all of them but the season is blessedly short and I am optimistic. He's a little young yet for the stern "you signed up for this and you'll finish it!" speech (plus, I signed him up without really asking him!) I'm hoping that next year, after a year of Kindergarten under his belt, that things will be easier for him.

And one of the Bug chilling with his uncle Joel at the game, cause he's too cute to leave out.

What do you do to motivate your kids to do something they aren't thrilled to be doing? Something that SHOULD be fun for them? Does this change if your child is very young? The Pirate just turned 5 last month!  Do you stick it out or do you wait and try again next year?  Do you have a problem praising your child for something that every other kid is doing willingly in order to get them fired up?  (In general, I am not a huge fan of praise for the sake of praise, but it worked here.) Did you ever allow your kid to abandon something halfway?

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  1. I normally make them finish out the commitment. Except, with Boy Scouts, my son wasn't enjoying it and neither were we, so we pulled him out.

    With Mike being the coach though, you probably can't pull the Pirate out. Can you? Out here, you can't be a coach unless your kid is on the team.

    I think the Pirate might enjoy it more next year. Age is a factor for sure.

  2. We typically stick it out. We aren't dealing with the exact same thing as you, the game holds his attention, but we are dealing with extreme shyness. This wouldn't sound like a big issue, but The Boy would only try to get the ball away from people he knew. This makes for a hard soccer game. So, we praise the behavior that come hard to him even if it is a behavior that other kids do easily. It is a struggle for him, so we praise. We are all about teaching him to try his very best in all that he does. Will that mean that he wins all the time? Nope. But we don't focus on the winning, only his trying. We do call him on it, if we can tell he isn't trying his very best.

  3. We normally insist they finish out the season. Your post makes me think back to peaceful girl's first (and only year) of playing soccer. She danced and showed her belly off numerous times and spent a lot of time just drifting off into space while others played the game around her!! Still makes me laugh!! Luckily, she was never wacked with the ball as she floated around the field.

  4. We have never made Caden do anything like sports or play the piano.

    If he wanted to play softball (as a kid) he couldn't quit in the middle of it. He took Karate for years and was very good but then we moved. Then he didn't want to start it again and that was okay.

    Pirate is kinda small so praise is good at this point. LOL!

  5. My advice is to watch the Pirate very closely. Does he start a battle when time to go? Do the other kids tease him? At this age, I'm sure many of the other kids aren't paying attention, either. This is normal. As you said, at age 5 an hour game is too long.

    If Pirate is completely miserable, please don't force him to play. Maybe this year he could just watch. Please be kind and encouraging without scolding (which it sounds like you aren't doing).

    Sorry, but I don't think his dad should be his coach, either.

    The other thing is not all children consider sports fun and that can be real problem when one or both parents are very athletic and/or competitive. (Same as musical parents forcing a tone deaf uninterested child to learn music.)

    My personal opinion - for what it is worth - is that we force competitive behavior and structure on our children at way too young of an age. We have forgotten that they just need to be children. They can learn responsibility by taking out the trash or feeding a pet or picking up their toys or just by learning to play with other children.

    Aren't you sorry you asked?

  6. When my oldest was 5 we signed him up for his first soccer season. They made the kids play positions that first season and my little ADD kid got so bored that after 5 minutes he took himself out of the game and said he was done. The only way to get him back in was to threaten to take his shin guards back. He loved them and went right back in. The next season they went to 3 on 3 for soccer and the kids all got to run like crazy. The trick is to find the sport they like--his turned out to be swimming.

  7. That's a tough one since you signed him up, but we always made our son stick it out. Of course, he was late with t-ball because we lived in France when kids typically play it.

    Maybe he needs a game that has a little more action.


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