Children's Hospital Colorado

Be a Fan of Your Kid

Learn how to be a fan of your kid

Kids need to know you’re cheering them on. Easy enough, right? Well, sometimes. In the ongoing mission to forge happy, virtuous adults, we as parents can be so focused on correcting what we think kids are doing wrong that we forget to celebrate what they’re doing right. Kids need structure and boundaries, but they also need encouragement. They need our support.

Like parents, kids have rough days. They face challenges they might not even tell you about: bullying, schoolwork, rejection. At those times, a reassuring word or a well-timed hug could be all it takes to turn their whole day around. That’s being a fan of your kid.

Our Kidfan Playbook

The Kidfan Playbook gathers some of our child psychologists’ and parenting experts’ best ideas for deepening your fandom. Think of these tips as the tailgate party, the body paint, the novelty foam finger of parenting — those extra touches that kick your fan game up a notch.

Study up on your kidfan plays

  • Play #1 - The Basics: What do kids really need? Turns out, years of child development research have identified exactly eight basic things kids need in order to grow into happy, successful adults.
  • Play #2 - The Kickoff: Babies’ brains have more potential for development than at any other time in their lives — and they develop through interactions with others. There are thousands of ways to connect with babies.
  • Play #3 - Game Face: Parenting doesn’t have to be a battle, but it does have its rough patches. Using positive strategies to deal with tantrums, meltdowns, and other challenging behavior can turn trying behavior into learning opportunities.
  • Play #4 - Game Time: Although some quality time might be planned in advance, most spontaneous and unscripted. Nationally renowned pediatrics and parenting expert Harley Rotbart, MD, shares 10 tips for making those special moments happen.
  • Play #5 - Homecoming: Nothing does more to knit people together — kids and parents, teams and fans, families — than tradition. Get Dr. Rotbart’s eight ideas for creating fun family traditions that might recur on holidays, or on any day, for any reason at all. 
  • Play #6 - Training: Parents are busy people, and making time for those little bonding moments can seem like an impossible task. Our experts troubleshoot parents’ top questions on connecting with kids

Practice your plays with these drills

  • Downloadable Fan: Be your kid’s biggest fan. Download a printable fan and add your child’s name to cheer them on.
  • Serve and Return Origami Game: Scientists say the way to help kids build better brain architecture is through “serve and return” interactions. A child reaches out for interaction (“serves”), and the caregiver responds (“returns”). Here’s a serve-and-return game to play with toddlers and up. Find a small friend and have some fun! 
  • Healthy Eating Placemat: Kids can have fun coloring while learning about healthy eating with this placemat. Download the placemat to teach your kids about healthy eating.
  • Friendship Certificate: Reward a child for being a good friend to others. Download a friendship certificate.
  • Make a Healthy Treat Together: Encourage your child to get cooking and make an easy, healthy treat like banana ice cream. Try this banana ice cream recipe.

Show your kidfandom today

You've heard that practice makes perfect, but your kids don't need perfect – they need you. So get on that parenting field and show your kidfandom today. For more parenting tips, sign up to get our free parenting resources from Just Ask Children's.