Last week we dove into some of the real hard-hitting, dinosaur-related conversations parents of brand new hockey players get to deal with on a regular basis.
My research for that article, watching a mom literally drag her daughter across the floor of the family changeroom, taught me that when it comes to communicating with cookie monsters, creativity is of the utmost importance.
The key is to remember that while you might not get an entirely straight answer, encouraging your child to open up about hockey will make life easier down the road.
Here are three questions to ask before every cookie monsters session your child participates in.
The first practice, the first time you ask this question - I’d like to see some examples of the answers parents are getting for this one.
I bet they're hilarious.
Engaging your child before the session will teach them early on about the importance of focussing on the task at hand. No, they don’t need to sit a corner with their headphones in visualizing the games they’ll play, but asking them what they think they’re in for will be illuminating for both parent and cookie monster.
The younger a hockey player is, the easier it is to build a safe, trusting atmosphere with other adults.
For many cookie monsters, learning to play hockey will be the first time a child is being taught by someone other than mom or dad. This can be difficult for parents and tots, so it’s important for both to realize that a new opinion is alright.
Asking questions about the instructors helps create a positive relationship and will help the cookie monster learn to listen to someone other than their parents.
This question is all about the experience. Obviously you want your child to enjoy the experience of cookie monsters. There’s nothing more fun or interesting to a young athlete than accomplishing something new.
This is also the area where your child might express frustration with an aspect of their class. Maybe they couldn’t stand up. Maybe they couldn’t master their stickhandling. Maybe one of the other kids totally cheated during cops & robbers.
Well, put your parent hat on and let your children know that the good news is they get to try again next week. Establishing a supportive, patient environment at this stage in the game will stick with both the hockey player and the parent as the child’s life in hockey develops.
Who exactly is going through the cookie monster experience?
Parents or kids?
Researching this small series of cookie monsters articles has taught me that it’s absolutely a combination of both. Cookie monster parents are setting up the parameters of the hockey experience from the age of 6 until 16 whether they know it or not.
Parents need to demonstrate support, patience and a positive attitude.
Keep your cookie monster in the moment. If they enjoy the game, they’ll tell you.
You just have to ask the right questions.