Basketball on the Edge – Have to vs. Get to


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Have you ever had the following conversation with your child?

Parent: You have to go to basketball practice tonight (or violin, or soccer, or psr or whatever).

Child: Do I have to? I’m tired. I don’t want to. Can’t we just stay home? (or any other excuse)

I’m sure that you have. How can you frame this conversation differently to change your child’s mindset when it comes to getting out the door and participating in an activity?

In an ideal world your child would love every activity they participate in, but unfortunately as parents we know that’s not true. For those activities they’re a little less enthusiastic about (hopefully not basketball!) try this quick change of language and see if it makes a difference in the way your child thinks about the activity.

Instead of saying, “You HAVE to go to basketball practice tonight”, say, “You GET to go to basketball practice tonight.” Just by changing the word HAVE to the word GET you are shifting your child’s mindset and how they approach the activity. Instead of feeling like a chore (something you have to do) the activity becomes a privilege (something you get to do).

I’ve found that changing HAVE into GET helps my own kids be more positive about the activities they participate in. You can use this language change as a jumping off point for a great conversation about gratitude and how we should all be thankful that we get the opportunity to do things that other people don’t.

Next time your child puts up a fight about going to practice, explain to them how they GET to practice and not everyone is lucky enough to have the same opportunity. GET to spins it positive, HAVE to spins it negative. A positive outlook is more likely to produce positive results, on or off the court.

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