We hope this article will give parents some tips in trying to recognise and prevent burnout in their children. There are many signs and factors that can be looked out for and we hope that a greater awareness will lead to less instances of this happening. With this information at hand parents can react accordingly and prevent situations before they become far worse.
Here are a list of tell tale signs for parents to look out for in their children:
- Changes in emotion, more irritable and more distracted than normal.
- Difficulty focussing, more forgetful.
- Decrease in performance, including in strength and coordination.
- Lower self esteem and increased anxiety.
- More illness.
- Fun is gone.
How can you prevent burnout?
- Rest – there is a real fear amongst parents that if they miss a period of time their child will get left behind. That is so not the case. My own personal experience of my own child missing 3 months of elite football each year is that when he returns he is refreshed and on many occasions has looked better on his return than those who have played all year round. Parents – TRUST ME!
- Spend time doing other sports and hobbies that involve different groups of people.
- Have a holiday.
- Make sure your child gets enough sleep.
- Set shorter term goals – they are more achievable and the child does not feel as daunted by the task.
- Make sure training sessions are different – children can become stuck in a rut and bored if they are not coached in different ways.
As parents we need to step back, think about if we are applying any undue pressure on to the sporting performance of our children.
Are you creating an environment where winning is the only option?
Have you got ownership of your child’s goals and sports programme?
Are they playing because you love it? – They may just play to appease you and keep you happy.
If your answer to any of the above is yes, then now is the opportunity to make some changes and regain control of the environment in the hope that your child does not ultimately suffer from burnout and leave a sport they could have truly loved.