Is Your Child Anxious About Sports Day? Here’s How to Calm The Nerves

At this time of year, many schools are hosting sports days—days dedicated to pupils racing, hurdling, long jumping and throwing in an effort to demonstrate their skills and improvement in sport. While plenty of kids look forward to sports day, for many it is a source of anxiety and worry. With parents and families often coming into school to watch, the sports start to feel like a performance and there can be a lot of pressure. If your child is starting to get the sports day butterflies, here are some tips on keeping them calm and relaxed.

Watch Some Sport Together

Why not watch some clips from previous Olympics, especially the track and field events if this is what your child’s school is focusing on? You can discuss how the professional athletes also look nervous when they’re lining up to compete, but that they participate regardless. It may also help to focus on how quick many track and field events are over in – if your child is competing in their school’s one hundred metres race, remind them that the running will be over before they know it!

Practice Racing

It may be helpful to head out into the garden or your local park and practice some running races. Lots of kids get nervous about sports day because it’s the only time of the year that they are expected to competitively race against other children. Practicing together, and showing them that it can be fun, can help to relieve some of their anxieties around racing.

Don’t Put The Pressure On

Some parents are guilty of making their kid’s nerves worse by piling on pressure and expectations. Make sure your child knows that you don’t mind whether they come first, third or last in a race—emphasize that it’s the taking part that counts. Many schools also offer a parents race as a bit of fun at the end of the day, so make sure you join in if you have the option, to demonstrate to your kid that you’re willing to have a go and that you’re not taking it too seriously.