Jan 2015

Kids Learn Key Life Lessons from Beach Cricket – Nigel Latta

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Leading psychologist Nigel Latta says important life skills such as manners and perseverance can be passed onto children though a fun family game.

Nigel_lattaSome of the greatest lessons we can teach our kids can be done over a game of beach cricket according to one of New Zealand’s leading psychologists.

Manners, good sportsmanship, the ability to lose gracefully, and the perseverance to keep going when things get tough, are all skills we can pass onto our children, not through “parental lectures” but through a simple game of family sport, says Nigel Latta.

“When you play games with the kids you’re not just spending time with them, you’re teaching them how to be great people. Games are just games, they’re not lecturing you, they’re not nagging at you, they are just simply fun. It’s a great non-threatening way for us to pass on life lessons to our kids,” he says.

Latta, host of several primetime television shows including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Parenting, says often while playing games we are simultaneously showing our children the right way to behave. This, he says, can be as simple as role modelling good manners, teaching them how to politely stand in a queue, or how to cope with failure.

“Some kids aren’t good at losing and as soon as they can see they’re going to lose they start to pack up, and that’s not a good strategy for life or for coping when things aren’t going your way. Most parents, when they see that type of behaviour, start to think about ways they can help their children adjust their approach to things,” he says.

In fact, the TV advertisement for the Hyundai Beach vs Beach Cricket Cup shows a young member of the team taking out his frustrations on the cricket equipment when things don’t go his way – a typical child’s reaction to losing, but one which can be addressed by parents continuing to play the game and demonstrating better ways to behave.

“These family occasions can provide fantastic opportunities for you to teach the children by example or in a more casual and relaxed atmosphere. You are not sitting down and giving them a big lecture about life, you are just teaching them about being a good sport, and they’re out there having fun with you and are more inclined to actually listen!”

Latta says some of his happiest childhood memories include whitebaiting on the Waitaki River in Oamaru with his parents and he hopes to pass those experiences on to his own children.

“We are all busy these days, we’ve got bigger mortgages and the economy has done some interesting things, it’s really hard to carve out family time. But for us the beach is just made for it and as a family we like to head away camping,” says Latta.

The psychologist says one of the blessings of games like beach cricket is that you actually “don’t need any talent! And it’s cheap! A bit of wood and a ball, that’s all you need. The best stuff you can do with your kids costs nothing, you don’t have to take them to French Ski resorts,” he says.

Latta, who in 2012 was made an Office of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to psychology, made the comments in conjunction with the launch of the Hyundai Beach vs Beach Cricket Cup.

As part of its sponsorship of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Hyundai is encouraging families to register a team to win their share of $25,000 as part of its ongoing Family Time Project.

The General Manager for Hyundai Andy Sinclair says recent research by the company showed that Kiwis believed a lack of family time was having a negative impact on their lives.

“We hope that the launch of our beach cricket campaign will help bring families closer together in a fun and engaging way,” he says.
To learn more about the campaign Kiwis can visitwww.familytimeproject.co.nz.

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Fleur Revell
Fleur Revell is one of the country’s most eminent PR consultants and public relations practitioners with more than 20 years industry experience behind her. Fleur is also a three times Qantas Media Awards winner and Feature Writer of the Year; and has an exceptional working knowledge of the New Zealand media landscape and its accelerating evolution in the digital age.
Kids Learn Key Life Lessons from Beach Cricket – Nigel Latta
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