Kids Are More Capable and Creative Than We Give Them Credit For
“Dad – can I use some of your equipment to set up an obstacle course?”
My 5-year-old daughter was keen to fill in some time before the other kids arrived and my coaching session began.
When she had finished she called me over to inspect her handiwork:
I was pleasantly surprised. It was simple but looked interesting.
“What do you have to do?” I asked.
She showed me: jump from the blue cones to straddle the green cones; then jump to land one foot on each dot; then jump to land inside the triangle.
I was so impressed that I ended up integrating her creation into the session that followed. I called it a “Ninja Challenge”. The group loved it and my daughter was proud. A 5-year-old had contributed to the design of my coaching session.
The Value In Allowing The Kids Creative Control
We need to consult 5 year-olds more often.
1. They Will Provide You With Invaluable Insight
No matter what expertise we think we have and how well we relate to kids of that age, they come from a totally different perspective to us. If you regularly coach young kids, you will know how often this is revealed. Their opinions, attitudes and answers will often surprise you, and their responses are frequently unexpected. Sometimes this comes as a jolting reality check.
A glimpse of their world from their perspective will help you create activities and sessions that are relevant and resonate.
2. Appropriate Activity Design
Who better to help you design activities than the kids that they are targeted towards? We can guess what will resonate with the kids, but only they really know. We can sometimes be way off. You will be far more likely to deliver appropriate activities if you accept input from the kids.
3. It Will Make The Kids Feel Significant
Young kids feel really special when “grown-ups” ask them for their opinion, and then act on their ideas and advice. Let kids know that their ideas count and that you believe that they have the ability to contribute by asking for their ideas and agreeing to their input.
4. It Will Help You Grow Your Coaching Repertoire
Capitalise on the kids’ creativity. They will suggest, design and try things that would never have entered your mind. Add the best of these to your coaching toolkit for future use or to inspire the development of more activities down the track.
Over To You
Kids are more capable and creative than we give them credit for. We often underestimate them and therefore miss opportunities for learning and growth – both for ourselves and the child.
Trust their ability to contribute. Constantly consult with them.
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Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Anchor or via email.