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What is children’s sport and what rights do children have?

Mennesker som elsker å utøve sin sport
Mennesker som elsker å utøve sin sport
Mennesker som elsker å utøve sin sport
Mennesker som elsker å utøve sin sport

Children’s sport is sporting activities children can take part in up to age 12, and it’s important that this occurs on the children’s terms. The intention is that children can learn, be stimulated and master new skills. To start with, the children will do basic exercises but as they get older the practice will become more specific. The children are protected through the children’s rights in sport, which ensure focus is placed on the needs of children. These rights are based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.


What is children’s sport and what rights do children have?

Children’s sport in Norway is defined as sporting activities for children up to 12 years of age. These activities take place at various sports clubs and can be organised or non-organised. Some sports venues also offer organised activities for children to do on their own without anyone leading the activity. This is common at skating halls, but you can also find football and climbing halls etc. that are open for children to use. Some sports clubs offer varied sporting activities, which enables the children to receive training in several sports and in different environments, e.g. swimming, cross-country skiing and handball.

Children’s sport should be on the children’s terms. Children can learn, be stimulated and master new skills through a versatile approach involving play. For the youngest children, this involves basic movements such as jumping, throwing, hopping, etc. In time, the training will be a more specific practice within the individual sport. The children should feel safe and experience enjoyment at sports practices through a combination of adult leaders and predictable rules designed for the relevant age group. Coaching children can be a demanding task, so it’s important that the parents and guardians support the coach. The goal of the sports practices is to stimulate the children to further activity, both in the present and future.

The purpose is that, through this sporting activity, the children will become familiar with their own body and develop basic movements for further activity, regardless of what they want to do. No two children are alike. It’s important to remember that, although the children have different motivations and requirements for taking part, all share a desire to achieve a sense of mastering. Children are always able to learn and master new skills. It’s important to maintain this learning focus because sport is a learning arena.

For many children, this will eventually lead to a long career in the sport at various levels. When they get older, some will choose to devote a lot of time to their sport to achieve major sporting goals, while others will gain a lot of joy playing grassroots sports in a team with their friends. The goal is the same – for everyone to have the best possible experience during their time in the sport. Being active is one of the best and most important things you can do for your enjoyment, self-care and health. This also involves practicing and working to learn new skills. As a parent or guardian, it’s important that you support your child in this process.

Actively using the great outdoors is a good idea for families with children. The children can develop through natural play, like walking along the seashore or in the forest or tobogganing in the wintertime. This sort of activity has an intrinsic value and is important for preventing physical or mental disorders.

Specific provisions and rights for children’s sport have been compiled to ensure the children’s perspective in sports is addressed. The children’s rights in sport ensure focus is placed on the needs of children and expresses the values that should form the basis of children’s sport in Norway. These rights are based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The rights apply to all children, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or guardian’s gender, ethnic background, life stance/religion, sexual orientation, weight/physical development and disabilities.

Children’s rights in sport

1. Safety

Children have the right to practice in an environment that is safe and secure. Children under age six should be accompanied by an adult to help avoid accidents and prevent injuries.

2. Friendship and enjoyment

Children have the right to participate in training and competitive activities which are designed to help develop friendship and solidarity amongst them.

3. Competency

Children have the right to experience the feeling of competency and to learn a varied skillset. They should also be given the opportunity to experience variation in their sports, training and interactions with others.

4. Influence

Children have the right to express their own opinions and that their opinions should be considered. Children should have the opportunity to participate in planning sessions and can implement their own ideas in sports activities with their coaches and parents.

5. The freedom to choose

Children have the right to choose which sport, or how many sports, they wish to participate in.

6. Competitions for all

Children have the right to choose whether they want to participate in competitions or not. Children transferring from one club to another in the same sport have the right to compete in competitive sports for the new sport club, as soon as the transfer is registered.

7. On the children’s terms

Children have the right to participate in training and competitive activities that are suitable for their age, physical development and level of maturity. The sports clubs and groups should cooperate to provide the children with a coordinated and varied sports provision in their local environment.

8. Everyone should be able to take part

All children have the right to participate in sport regardless of their family’s financial situation or involvement. Children have the right to be part of an inclusive sports environment free from pressure about equipment or costs.

Effort must be made to ensure the children participating in children’s sport are given the greatest possible variation in activities and the opportunity to develop basic movement skills.

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