Superbowl weekend is upon us, and 1:3 Americans will be glued to the TV screen on Sunday evening. Between bites of buffalo chicken dip, $5million spots of 30-second-advertisements and Bruno Mars and Coldplay rockin’ a half-time show, there are many lessons that can be taught and learned about leadership, character, and life in general. 

As you may be well-aware, much research supports the importance of sports and extra-curricular activities that lead to a child’s physical and emotional well-being and development. Sports and activities such as dance, karate, and the robotics or chess team are great learning labs for a child’s social, emotional, academic, and physical development. While a coach is a powerful influence on your child, you can further support the “soft” skills (but often hard lessons) that are important in raising a millennial child.

So as you watch the Broncos and Panthers battle it out on the field for Superbowl L (which is the Roman numeral for 50, but the NFL chose not to use this in fear of association with “losing”), here are a few things to ponder with your child pre and post game so that you can support their healthy character for the next 50 years (and beyond!):

For elementary age children, be sure to focus not just on the players’ skills but their character. How they treat their teammates, how they react when they fumble the ball, or score a touchdown are easy ways to showcase real character in action. Teamwork, humility, resiliency, and confidence are key traits to highlight when you see it play-by-play.

For middle schoolers, make it personal. Begin asking your child why they admire a certain sports-figure and encourage them to look deeper than just their talent or fame. You can influence and steer your child in the direction of choosing good, wholesome mentors.

Finally, high schoolers can live vicariously through the players because they may be experiencing similar situations on their own. Encourage your child to put themselves in the players cleats. Ask application questions to get them to think critically: “Have you ever been in a situation like that?” or “What would you do if sports-performance drugs were mailed to you?”

I hope these tips help you and your child think beyond the playing field as we partner together to be a part of the village that it takes to raise strong, confident, healthy Gen Y’ers.

Much love to you and yours this Superbowl and always,