As Olympic athletes hurl themselves down sheets of ice, race on powdery snow and compete in the games over the next two weeks, Dr. Jorge Gomez, associate professor of pediatrics in the division of adolescent and sports medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said the Olympics are a great opportunity for children to learn about physical activity and goal setting.
“Research has shown that the strongest predictor of children remaining physically active into adulthood is having experiences of being active with their parents,” said Gomez.
He offers the following tips for parents when watching the Olympic Games with their children:
- Point out that the athletes are participating because it’s fun for them
- Emphasize athletes are where they are after years of hard work
- Discuss what it means to be a team player and to have good sportsmanship
- Focus on the fact that the athletes are fit because they take care of themselves by eating well and exercising
- While encouraging children to explore new activities, keep safety in mind