The world’s eyes are on Rio as the greatest athletes compete for the gold medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Perhaps it’s the thrill of competition, watching an athlete put on a powerful performance or maybe it’s simply feeling patriotic and cheering on America’s athletes. There is also another very important reason to watch: everyone (especially kids) can learn some valuable lessons about winning, success and what it means to be a champion.
Children of all ages are fascinated by the Olympics, so parents can easily turn the excitement of watching the games into valuable lessons that are both interesting and educational. Prepare to learn a thing or two yourself as you and your child uncover important life lessons from the Olympic athletes:
The importance of teamwork
Let’s face it – it can be hard to teach kids to work together. They can be forced to do projects together at school and encouraged to work as a team when they head to sports games, but sometimes that only goes so far. Point out how well Olympic teams work together and connect that to their successes. In rowing, for example, teams must be completely in sync to get fractions of seconds ahead of their competitors.
Perseverance is an important value to develop in your kids, and a tough one. As one grows older, the challenges that life throws at them get tougher and tougher and children who learn to bounce back and not let setbacks get them down have gained a valuable skill for life. While watching the athletes with the little ones, talk about how they devote themselves to the sport, and how they work to improve themselves daily, Monday through Sunday!
While all the Olympians want to take home the gold, not everyone can be a winner and this is a crucial lesson for kids to learn. It is also important for them to learn how they can still treat their opponents with respect. Kids who see adults, especially respected athletes, behaving in a sportsmanlike way gradually come to understand that the real winners in sports are those who know how to behave with dignity – whether they win or lose!