Parents and carers play a big role in encouraging children to take part in sport or physical activity, which is important if we want our children to live healthy and active lifestyles.
Why are parents so important to sport, this short video highlights the important role that parents play in their child's sporting life.
Getting Involved in your child’s sport or activity can mean lots of different things, from washing kits to being their personal cheerleader or taxi driver. But it also means making sure their sport is a safe place for them to thrive and enjoy.
The benefits of being involved in your child’s sport
Having an understanding and interest in getting involved in your child’s sports club or activity will help create an environment where your child feels able to share their experiences with you. There are many benefits of being involved, including:
you’re part of the team too
creating opportunities to get involved in other activities with the club, for example fundraising, volunteering, coaching or first aid
building a better bond with the club, the coaches, staff, volunteers and players to be a great supporter for your child and wider team too
a better knowledge of the organisation, it’s ethos and how things are run on a daily basis
an understanding about the possible challenges and risks
raising any helpful suggestions about how to improve things at the club, as well as voicing any concerns.
Your child might come to you with a concern or worry about something that’s happened or they have witnessed. It’s important for you to address these concerns and raise this with the right people.
This video looks at what parents can do to help keep their child safe and who they can turn to for help if something is wrong. We hear Ellie's story, a young athlete who has a negative experience and whose parents aren't sure how to support her.
If you have any worries or doubts about your child, another child or anyone else involved in your child’s chosen sport, it's essential that you raise this and talk to someone. There are some helpful things to consider:
to your child about their worries or concerns. Let them express how they feel freely and with an open mind.
every club should have polices and procedures in place to ensure children are safe in their care as well for dealing with concerns, and you can request to see these.
if you’re unsure who to speak to, the NSPCC helpline can support you and advise you on what to do next - call 0808 800 5000
speak to the club’s child protection, safeguarding or welfare officer to discuss your concern, ask what happens next and how your child will be supported going forward
let your child know that you’ve acted on what they’ve told you and that they can come back to you again if they need to
If you think a child is in immediate danger of abuse, contact the police on 999.
The idea of speaking out about abuse, a worry or concern can be daunting but by taking action, you'll be safeguarding the child concerned as well as helping to prevent others being harmed or put at risk.
What should be in place at your child’s club or activity
Any good club or activity should have certain things in place to make sure they’re taking care of children during sessions, practices and any away trips and competitions.
You should feel confident asking a club about any of the areas below, you have a right to know these things and any good club will be happy to let you know what they have in place.
Clubs and activity providers should have a safeguarding policy which outlines their commitment to protecting children and a clear procedure for dealing with any and all concerns. You should be able to see a copy of this policy.
Every club should have a welfare or child protection officer who you can contact if you have a concern of any sort about your child or another child during their time at the club. You should be given this person’s contact details. If you don’t, their details should be available from any coach, or be displayed on the club or activities website or in their venue.
Codes of conduct for staff, children and parents
There should be a written code of conduct or behaviour showing what is required of staff, volunteers, participants, parents and carers. Theses codes should highlight the rules about what behaviour is expected and how this will be addressed if this isn’t upheld.
Safeguarding training for staff
Anyone working with children should have received some level of safeguarding training. The level of safeguarding training they need depends on the type of role they have and the frequency of involvement they have with children. We have information for coaches, clubs and other sports organisations on what type of training are available.
Safe ways of recruiting staff, including criminal records checks
All staff and volunteers should be subject to something called 'safer recruitment processes', which means that they’ve been interviewed, the organisation has seen references, and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) or criminal records checks for working with children have been carried out where applicable.
We advise that any child under the age of 16 requires parental consent to join a club or activity. Part of giving your consent means you’re aware of the kind of club or activity you’re sending your child to and that you’re comfortable letting them attend.
These videos, created by the CPSU, highlight the positive role you can play as a parent to support your child in their chosen sport.
My No.1 Fan - Positive parental involvement in sport
This video interviews parents and children about their sporting lives and involvement. It highlights the impact of both positive and negative parental involvement and side-line behaviour.
Messages for parents of young athletes
The key for being involved in your child’s sport and to help them enjoy participating and achieve success is simply this – talk to your child.
The importance of parents in sport
It's really important that you get involved and support your child in sport. Don't let media stories about 'pushy parents' put you off.
The role of parents in supporting children and young people in sport
As a parent, you’re a role model for your child to get active and enjoy sport. You show them how to be a good sportsperson and help them deal with the emotions of winning and losing, and how to react positively in different situations.