Boys and girls should have the same opportunities to take part in sport. In Norway, there are no sports that girls cannot take part in. In many sports such as running, swimming and cross-country skiing, girls and boys generally practice together but compete separately. However, in team sports like basketball, football or volleyball, there are normally separate teams for girls. In Norway, it’s a goal that everyone who wishes to take part in sport can do so, and that this is a safe arena for everyone involved.
Sport in Norway has the vision of “Joy of sport – for all”. This means that boys and girls should have the same opportunities to take part in sport. Sport is the largest voluntary organisation in Norway and more than 90% of children under age 12 take part in at least one sport. It’s common for children to start organised sport when they start school, which is generally the year they turn six. Some start earlier and others later.
Most sports activities take place after school hours, in other words after 4 p.m. In some places, sports activities are at the same time as the after-school programme. What sport you take part in depends on your interests and what is offered in your local area. It’s fun to be in a team with others who share the same interest. There are generally many options to choose between and in Norway there are no sports that are unsuitable for girls. It’s good for children to experience a varied range of activities by trying activities in different environments, e.g. in the gym or the forest, on snow or in water. Some sports clubs offer varied sporting activities that enable children to take part in several different sports. Varied and versatile activities offer children a good opportunity to master their bodies and be able to take part in several sports later in life.
It’s important for children to have an active and meaningful leisure activity, regardless of what they wish to do. Some children want to play a team sport like basketball, football or volleyball. There are normally separate teams for girls. Others prefer individual sports such as running, cross-country skiing, swimming or martial arts. In these sports, the girls and boys generally practice together but compete separately. It’s common for boys and girls to have practice sessions at the same time in indoor pools and sports halls. It’s also nice for parents and guardians to take part in various activities in different environments with their children outside of the organised sporting activities.
Sport is one of many options. Some children do other recreational activities like playing a musical instrument, singing in a choir or doing drama. As a parent or guardian, it’s sometimes important to help your child find a suitable activity. A meaningful recreation is important for children, but we also need physical, motor, social and mental stimulation later in life. By taking part in sport, you will make new friends, learn and master new skills and get to know yourself. For those who have recently moved to Norway, sport is also a good arena to learn and practice speaking Norwegian. You will also meet other adults, which is good both for you and your child.
Sports teams sometimes travel to take part in events. This often involves staying overnight, which is quite common and harmless. However, this is uncommon for the youngest children. The adults accompany the children on such trips and are responsible for the whole group. Other parents or guardians generally attend and, as it’s important for several adults to go on such trips, you can offer to help if you wish. Travelling to events in other places is a positive and important experience that children often remember for the rest of their lives. They get to know each other better and often make new friends. Trips to tournaments and events offer a lot of social learning like spending a lot of time together and looking after your own gear and, as such, are a great way to practice independence. The children generally stay in classrooms at schools or other places. Adults always stay in the same room as the children. Everyone needs to take their own sleeping bag, ground pad and personal belongings.
Research shows that girls with an immigrant background are underrepresented in sport and there are various reasons for this. In Norway, it’s a goal that everyone who wishes to take part in sport should have the opportunity to do so. Sport must be a safe arena for everyone. There are coaches and team managers of both genders, although men outnumber women in in many activities. There is a stated wish for more women to be involved both as coaches and team managers and efforts are underway to achieve this. All females who wish to take part in sport can do so. This applies to all ages – children, youth and adults.
Girls in puberty can be active even if they have their period. In some cases, being active helps with menstrual pain. The girls can use a tampon or sanitary pad. However, tampons are recommended for swimming. If you have questions about this, feel free to ask a female coach, health nurse or someone else you trust. You will also find information about this online.
Sport enables you to develop as a person under the guidance of clear and caring adults who lead the activity and the sports clubs. The adults are generally parents or guardians who do this on a voluntary basis. The aim is to create the best possible activity and upbringing environment for the children in the local area. Clubs are always on the lookout for more adults to fill these roles, so just ask if you want to help with something. As a parent or guardian, it’s important that you accompany your child to sports practice from time to time. This enables you to have contact with the coaches, and your child will always appreciate you showing an interest. Sports clubs and associations offer courses for those wishing to learn more about specific topics.
Everyone who performs tasks in Norwegian sports involving a position of responsibility or trust with children or youth under 18, or people with an intellectual disability, must present a certificate of good conduct issued by the Police.