Kids just love charging around on the football pitch and having fun with their friends - but is the ride home in the car dragging them down?
Do they get in the back seat and stare out of the window looking glum and avoiding conversation?
Well that might be down to you.
Have you ever considered that in your desire to talk about your child's fun session on the pitch so you can bond with them, you may actually be creating some anxiety through the questions you ask?
So, here at the FFA we have come up with five quick checks for you to ensure you are enhancing your child’s enjoyment of football rather than hinder it.
1 - DON’T SAY: Did you win?
At this stage of a child’s football journey the pressure of trying to win games should be avoided at all costs. The last thing they want to chat about is how they feel having lost a game. Right now, it is about having fun, making friends and falling in love with having a ball at their feet.
What should you say?: Did you have fun?
2 - DON’T SAY: Did you score?
Although well intentioned, this question could knock your child’s confidence. A child naturally wants to please their parents and not scoring a goal could feel like they have failed you.
What should you say?: I saw you have a shot today. You hit the ball really well.
3 - DON’T SAY: Why can’t you pass like Harry/Estelle?
Comparing children to their peers makes for uncomfortable listening from the back seat. It suggests you feel their friends are progressing and they are falling behind.
What should you say?: I saw you trying some great passes today. You are getting better every week.
4 - DON’T SAY: You need to start controlling the ball with a different part of your foot?
Leave the coaching to the coach. Your club coach or Kick-Off Game Leader is well trained and knows how to bring the best out of their players. Your advice may be seen as criticism by your child.
What should you say? Your coach is doing a great job. We can try some of his drills at home if you like.
5 - DON’T SAY: Next time you get kicked, give them a kick back?
One of the key principles of football is Fair Play. Leave it up to the Game Leader or referee to spot any problems and solve them appropriately.
What should you say?: I saw you get right back up after that tackle and chase the ball. That made me really proud.