Girls Need Sports Too!


By: Jodie Lynn

April is a huge month for signing up your kids for activities. There is so much to choose from with such little time.

On another note, have you ever wondered why girls drop out of sports by the truckload once they reach high school? The drop out rate is seven times greater than that of boys. Why this happens is still a mystery.

Maybe they feel overwhelmed by the size of the school team, number of girls trying out, developing bodies, intensity of the competition…who knows?

In fact, if a girl does not play a sport by the time that they turn eight, she may not ever do so. So, what is a parent to do to motivate them to become active and healthy?

Take your daughter to a sports event.
If it's guys playing, mention that girls can play the same game and ask if she would like to go see a game. Then, follow through by taking her to a game.

Monkey see and monkey do.
Play around as much as possible with your daughter in various sport settings. Go to the pool, kick balls, hit balls, hiking, skiing, running, biking and/or shoot hoops for fun.

In the beginning, do not nag about any weight issues.
When trying to get her up and moving, talk about your own experience with sports. Set your goal on showing her how much fun sports can be and things you used to do that left you feeling good about yourself.

The explanation of health benefits can come later.
Eventually, she will feel and look better than ever. When this happens, you will see a boost in her self-esteem and in her energy level.

Introduce healthy eating habits as early as possible.
Regardless of what your daughter is involved in now, always model good eating habits. Mention, but do not nag, how certain foods help various parts of the body and how they make us feel.

Always be your child's number one fan.
Regardless of her physical performance, cheer her on. Think of the all around health benefits as well as emotional balance she is gaining.

Whatever you do, do not over schedule your kids and do not force them to play a sport if they do not want to. There is a big difference in encouraging and "forcing."

Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Parent to Parent is now going into its tenth year and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to many sites including eDiets.com and is the Mom to Mom Expert for BabyCenter.com and has a regular family segment on two radio programs, one of which is syndicated to over 20 stations. She has written two books and contributed to two others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest best-selling parenting/family book is Mommy CEO (revised edition). Preorder Lynn's new book, Mom CEO: Avoiding the Distressed Housewife Syndrome and Winning at Motherhood, online or from any bookstore.

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