Help Your Child Stay Motivated When There’s Nothing to Motivate Them

By Janis Meredith | Posted 8/19/2020

We face yet another unprecedented situation this fall, as many schools and leagues choose to postpone their seasons until January or spring 2021. For thousands of athletes in US and Canada, that means that there is another huge gap in their youth sports journey. Many of those young athletes will find ways to continue working hard and will actually make the most of the “time off.”

But many others will struggle with staying motivated because in their minds, there is absolutely nothing to motivate them.

As a parent, you cannot make your kids be motivated. It just doesn’t work that way. But you can look for ways to facilitate and nurture that motivation. Here are some suggestions:

Begin with a conversation. Talk to your child about what they would like to accomplish in the time off from organized sports. What are their goals? How would they like help accomplishing those goals? If they say they want to do nothing, remind them that not all of their teammates will be idle and if they want to keep up, they should probably plan on doing something. If they still refuse, then let it go. They will have to live with the consequences of their choice.

Work with them on a plan to reach those goals. What would your child like to do to achieve those goals? Let them take the lead in this. If they take ownership of the plan, there’s a much better chance that they will stick with it.

Learn about the game together. Read books, watch videos and movies, and listen to podcasts that will help them develop their knowledge of the game. Don’t let the “time off” go to waste.

Make practice dates with your child. Go outside or to the gym and have fun! Do this not just to teach skills but to enjoy playing together. You don’t always have to be coaching your child on how to tackle or kick. Sometimes, it’s better to just have fun with them. This is the way to nurture their love for the game.

Make it a family event. Plan an active outing to play a game of family softball, touch football or whatever your family likes. Invite other friends and family along to make it even more fun.

As parents, we can’t make our kids care as much as we do about a specific thing, but we can provide plenty of opportunities for them to catch the bug. We can notice when they work hard and praise their efforts, reminding them that their hard work will pay off to help them be ready when game time comes.

Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at


Our 60 Ways to Play Guide is full of basic exercises and programs to develop physical literacy. They teach fundamental movement skills in an engaging manner, creating a fun experience for everyone.