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The Olympics: A way to learn life lessons

5:05 AM, Jul 26, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- It's not often that a doctor encourages children to watch TV, but many experts say the Olympics are a great teaching tool.

At its most basic, the Olympics are about competition.

Pitting the best against the best.

There will be winners and losers.

Children may get upset if an athlete or team they're rooting for loses.

So what should you say?

Dr. Richard So, a sports pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic, says it's important to acknowledge your child's feelings.

Tell your child you understand why they're upset and that it means they care a lot about the outcome.

Also take the time to explain that even if that athlete or team didn't win gold, they are still successful.

Getting to the Olympics is an incredible accomplishment in itself. These are the best of the best.

Another lesson: Sports safety.

Point out that every athlete is taking the proper precautions, like bicyclists wearing helmets.

Stress the importance of respecting your body and protecting it from harm.

The Olympics Games are a great way to introduce your child to different sports.

If your child prefers individual sports or team sports, there are plenty of options.

What if your child has been left out of sports in the past or doesn't have that athletic confidence?

In that case, there are sports like table tennis or archery.

There is also an opportunity to talk about the history and evolution of the Olympics, from the countries who participate, to the diversity of the athletes.

But sometimes "showing" is better than "telling."

Beyond those conversations are the personal stories of the athletes themselves.

This is what makes the Olympics so compelling; how these men and women got to this point, their struggles, sacrifices, tragedies and triumphs.

"That's the best part of the Olympics," Dr. So said. "That there's a story about everybody and getting together and watching with your kids. There's history to be learned watching the Olympics."

Opening ceremonies kick off on Friday.

You can catch all the action on WKYC Channel 3, your 2012 Olympic station.

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