This article is a partnership with Kixx
2022 was a big year for football in this country. The Lionesses clinched the Women’s EURO 2022 title in spectacular style, whilst the men’s World Cup provided more drama than anyone expected. If your kids have found the action on their TV screens inspiring, you might be looking for ways to build on that. But how do you encourage your children’s football passion?
Well, lucky for you, I’ve done some research and I’ve put together some ideas. Who says this site is just rubbish jokes? Most people, actually, but on this occasion you might find this helpful and interesting.
Children’s Football Passion – Ways to Encourage it
Watch football at home together
I’m not as obsessed by football as I used to be. Certainly not enough to pay for the sports channels on telly. But there are still plenty of ways to watch football with your kids at home.
Match of the Day is the obvious option for tight dads like me that only have the Freeview channels. But then you can also fall down a footy wormhole on YouTube too. In fact, whatever your children’s football preferences are, you can seek them out together on your phone.
Seth loves Lionel Messi, so we spend ages watching clips of him displaying the sort of skills that make him almost as good a footballer as me. We’ve also spent hours watching penalty shootouts and seeking out moments when goalkeepers have scored from their own area. There are more than you think. Seriously, set aside an afternoon and search them out.
Take them to a game
If they liked football on telly, they will LOVE it in real life. There is nothing like the roar of the crowd, the smell of the Bovril and the novel way to introduce your kids to an array of new swear words.
Watching a game at whatever level gives a new dimension to the game and that collective experience, whether it is with 50,000 or 50 other people, is intoxicating.
I took Elsa to her first game when she was four and, whether it was the unexpected goalfest or the snacks, she loved it:
Although, it doesn’t have to be a cracking game to hook kids. Seth went to his first Scunthorpe United games as a five-year-old. The first match he saw was a 3-0 defeat to Harrogate Town. His second saw us lose by the same scoreline to Leyton Orient, resulting in us being relegated from the Football League. And yet he demanded to see more. He was then rewarded with a 3-2 win over Dorking, having been 2-0 down at half time.
He just loved the atmosphere and seeing the action up close. So much so that he’s hooked.
Get out in the garden or park
If you have a garden or park nearby, get a ball and kick it about. It’s a nice way to spend bonding time together, it gets you away from screens for a bit and you can boost your own confidence by tricking them with a Cruyff turn or two. They’ll never expect it. Well, not for the first ten or so times. But they learn quickly, so use it wisely.
Seriously though, it doesn’t have to be a formal thing. Just passing the ball back and forth can be fun and helps them develop basic skills that they can use if they get into children’s football in a more formal way.
Seek out a football academy
Speaking of which…there are some great children’s football academies that you can get your kids into if they want to play with their peers. Kixx is a football academy for kids in Yorkshire, where it’s all about a high energy, fun, creative and age-appropriate introduction to physical activity through football.
The great thing about these types of groups for young children is that they are more about the enjoyment and social aspect of playing football than winding them up into mini-Vinnie Joneses at an early age. This means they play for the love of it, which is a great way to encourage children’s football passion.