1. If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all.
Kids need feedback, but not to hear the negative things that are happening for you or them when it comes to sports. As parents, we need to be supportive of our kids no matter their level of accomplishment and learning. If you can’t think of a compliment for your child, it is best to keep everything to yourself. And kids don’t need the negative vibes anyway that come from yelling and being antagonistic (of them or their opponents) at games.
2. Five for fighting.
Fighting takes you out of the game and as a parent, you should never be out of the game. This teaches me to choose my battles, wisely.
2. Always say you're sorry.
In my daughter’s league, saying you’re sorry is a regular thing on the ice! When one girl bumps into another, this can always be heard. This camaraderie even in the face of competition opens my eyes to the importance of teaching our kids (and living it ourselves) the value of being respectful.
3. Keep your expectations in check.
Learn what is age-appropriate, and if you don’t know ask a coach or professional. Stick with that. We sometimes forget that kids are still kids and expect them to be able to do more. All things in good time. It is a learning process.
4. Encouragement can be quiet. Sometimes you just need to be there.
I think the best and most supportive message we send kids is when we are there for them, always and no matter what. Being there at a game and practice is important for our family.
5. Everyone needs their awesome-ness recognized.
Good feedback is MORE important than negative. And feedback can be quiet supportive (see above). It can be a cup of cocoa after the game with a hey you did great today. It might be their hockey number on the new hockey pendant to celebrate their enthusiasm and to say, I support this.