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The Globe and Mail

A parent primer on getting - and keeping - your kid active

Allison Wong plays badminton at her home in Vancouver.

JOHN LEHMANN/The Globe and Mail

- Talk to your children about their interests. Find out what sports or physical activities appeal to them.

- Recognize and respect your child's reasons for playing a sport or practising a physical activity. They might want to compete for medals and titles, or simply to have fun and socialize through activity.

- Be positive about your child's efforts, regardless of results. (Research has shown that children retreat from activity when their parents become demanding about results.)

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- Support your child's activities as a parent, not as a 24-hour coach. Your role is to help with transportation, good nutrition, rest and a balanced lifestyle.

- For girls 6-8 and boys 6-9, check if your child's activities address the ABCs of athletic development - agility, balance, coordination and speed.

- For girls 8-11 and boys 9-12, identify three sports or physical activities that your child enjoys and focus on those during the course of a year.

- For girls 11-15 and boys 12-16, celebrate it if your child is identified as a special talent, but be cautious about having them specialize in one sport, event or position before age 13-14.

- Be careful your child doesn't over-train or over-compete, as injury and burnout can result.

Adapted from Tips for Parents, Canadian Sport for Life.

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About the Author

Tralee Pearce has been a reporter at The Globe and Mail since 1999, starting as a writer in the paper’s Style section. She joined the new Life section for its launch in 2007. She covers parenting and family issues for the daily section. More

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