Even before your grandchildren were born, you may have dreamed about your grandson as a star athlete. Well, you may have gotten it all wrong.girls-playing-sports

Here’s something that some grandparents rarely consider. Granddaughters can be athletes, too! As a matter of fact, girls need to learn about teamwork, good sportsmanship and the thrill of victory just as much as boys.

According to a recent article in the Kansas City Star, high school girls who play sports are significantly less likely to get pregnant or take drugs, and are more likely to get their diploma.

Here are some specific ways you can encourage your granddaughter’s interest in athletics:

First, teach her to appreciate an active lifestyle. I’m not saying push her to practice gymnastics all day to make the Olympic team, but you can at least get her away from the TV and go hiking or toss the softball.

Number two: Be active yourself. If you enjoy regular exercise it will keep you in shape, and your granddaughter will be much more likely to participate as well.

Third, be her biggest fan. Cheer her from the sidelines, support her goals and achievements, and help out at team functions.

Finally, point out positive role models. Help your granddaughters identify high-achieving female athletes.

Grandparent, you’re a powerful influence on your daughter. Remember; at about age ten the peer pressure will kick in. That’s when many of her friends may start becoming what society often encourages women to be, complete with hair gel, make-up, talking on the phone, listening to music, and the other typical activities of young-womanhood. While seemingly inevitable – those things come at the expense of healthy activities that she needs.

Encourage her to play on basketball or softball teams. Or, if those aren’t the “cool” things to do, try introducing her to running, tennis or bicycling. If you’re a golfer, cancel your next foursome and make it a twosome-just you and she.

Grandparent, you have much more to give your granddaughter than you may have thought. If you know how exhilarating sports can be, don’t deprive your granddaughter of the same experience.