What can an ancient Greek tradition teach your offspring? Are there any valuable lessons your children can learn from the upcoming Olympic Games?
Here are just some suggestions of the ways you can use the Olympics as a chance to teach some life lessons to the little ones.
1. There are lots of strange and wonderful flags out there
Every four years we get to see every competing country parading its flag around a stadium. Even we adults are surprised at the sheer number of countries and strange flag designs we've never heard of or seen before.
Learning the flags for countries is one of those things that collector-obsessive children can really get excited about. It's worth encouraging this since it'll keep them busy for a few weeks, help them develop their memory skills, and make them really useful in pub quizzes in the future.
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2. Being good at sport can mean many things
School can be very limiting for a child's outlook on sport and fitness. You very rarely hear grown-ups talking about their evening rounders games, or see them popping out for a run around the park with a beanbag on their heads.
Witnessing the many and varied sports on offer will give your children a broader understanding of what it means to be good at sport (or interested in fitness). For example, shot putters probably weren't particularly graceful on the football pitch, and those sharp shooters on the firing range probably didn't excel at hockey. There's a whole world of possibility out there, and the Olympics could inspire your child to start practising for that future career in judo (so long as it's not in the living room and nothing gets broken).
3. Start with a bang and finish with a bang
This little life lesson will get your child far. It's amazing what you can get away with if you make a good first impression and leave them wanting more. If our public transport goes into nervous collapse and our athletes fall at the first hurdle, we'll forgive almost anything if the fireworks display makes us giddy with glee, the Queen comes out and does the can-can and there's an appearance from what's left of the Beatles.
4. If at first you don't succeed... you've got one more attempt and then you're disqualified
Somehow the disqualification of false-starters just doesn't feel like cricket. We all make mistakes: getting over-excited and heading off before the shot doesn't make you a cheat – it just makes you a little too eager. This isn't meant to be a hearing test, it's a running competition.
Still, the rules are the rules, and teaching your kids that life isn't always going to let them start over is one of those tough parenting lectures you can dish out with your hands on your hips. But maybe hold off on giving it till they've hit their teens – toddlers should probably be allowed a few more years to get preferential treatment in running races, jigsaw completion and other competitive family past-times.
5. The power of teamwork
For me, the most mesmerising events of the athletics were always the relay races: the moment where a team of top class athletes had to work together to win gold for their country. I can vividly remember the 4x400 men's team winning surprise gold against the USA at the 1991 World Championships. Meanwhile, the 2004 4x100 relay team once again out-ran the USA to win Olympic gold in Athens, enthralling a whole new generation of children.
So what can the Olympics teach your child? The importance of hard work? The magic of exercise? Tell us your suggestions in the comments!
At the heart of Team Mum is the video series Raising an Olympian, sponsored by Proctor and Gamble, which profiles athletes from across the world, their dedicated efforts to make it to Olympic Games, and the mothers who had tremendous impacts on their lives. Watch the videos on Yahoo! Lifestyle Team Mum.