One of my favorite things to listen to while running lately is Jillian Michaels’s podcasts. In it, she covers health and fitness — both physical and mental. In one of the programs I listened to recently, she discussed the topic of raising self-confident children. One of the things parents can do, according to Michaels, is to let your kids try a lot of different activities.

My parents did this for me, and I am very grateful. I tried gymnastics, ballet, acting, baton-twirling, tap dance, water polo, volleyball, painting, basketball, track and field, soccer, softball, swimming, snow and water skiing, piano, lifeguarding, horseback riding, choir, photography, school band, drill team, golf, and I even did an IronKids triathlon in 8th grade.

How to get your child to try a new hobby or sport?

With school starting, now might be a good time to see if your child is interested in trying a new sport or hobby. “Hobbies often mature into lifelong interests, even careers,” according to the article Why Kids Need Hobbies on But how do you get them interested? Here are a few tips to help encourage your child to try something new:

Share your interests.

Be vocal about sports and hobbies you like. I like to run, and I often share my love for it with my 4-year-old son. Just this weekend, he wanted to go running at the local school’s track. I put my Garmin on him and he raced me twice around the quarter-mile oval. (He won, of course.) Remember, though, don’t force your interests on him or her. It’s good to encourage kids to try new things (and foster those things you can tell they enjoy), but sometimes a certain hobby or sport just isn’t for them right then.

Take them to a game.

An article by the Mayo Clinic suggests taking kids to a sporting event. It’s hard not to get excited among fans rooting for the home team. You don’t have to shell out a fortune for major league sports either. Go to the local high school game or even your friend’s kid’s soccer game.

Limit TV time.

Nothing sucks hours out of a day like the television. “Let’s face it, it’s impossible to work on a hobby and watch TV (or play video games) at the same time,” states the article from

Let your child choose the activity.

“Kids gain confidence and a sense of self-esteem from the activities they choose themselves,” says the author in the article Your Child’s Talents and Hobbies published in Canadian Living. Let them pick, but be careful they don’t over-book themselves. Too busy of a schedule can have a negative effect on your child’s interests. And, be sure to agree on a reasonable trial period, suggests the Canadian Living article. If your child likes it, then he or she can continue; but if she doesn’t, then it’s okay at the end of the trial period to quit.

Encourage your child!

Trying something new is hard — even for adults. A little encouragement and support goes a long way.

What activities did you try as a child? Which ones are you still doing?