P&G mum Alison Rushgrove will be proudly watching on as son, Team GB paralympic sprinter, Ben Rushgrove, competes next week in the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Here are her top tips for helping your kids win gold...
P&G mum Alison Rushgrove will be proudly (and nervously!) watching on as her son, Team GB paralympic sprinter, Ben Rushgrove, competes next week at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Four years ago, he won a silver medal in the Beijing Olympics, and this year he’s hoping for gold. She knows exactly how hard Ben’s worked, having been at his side every step of the way. Here are her top tips for helping your kids to achieve gold in whatever they want to do…
‘When Ben was born with cerebral palsy there was a chance he wouldn’t be able to walk. But our assumption was that he would. We would have him in the baby walker at all times. Soon he was getting the momentum up to move in straight lines, then we’d turn him around and he’d go back the other way. It was always about giving him lots of opportunities to do it.’
‘I’m a big believer in support rather than pushiness, [kids] have to want to do it. We were motivated by Ben.He slowly pushed [to get more involved in sport] and we supported him one hundred per cent.’
‘Taking kids along to different things will help spark their interest. There’s lots of ways to get involved in sport cheaply. Local clubs are great – get involved with them as much as you can.’
‘We sat down and ate meals together as a family when Ben was growing up. There was no choice, you would eat what was put in front of you. For breakfast, it was healthy cereal or toast with fruit juice. Nothing chocolatey or sugary. [Ben and his brother and sister] sat down and had breakfast every morning. Evening meals were the same. I always cooked from scratch, it’s much cheaper than buying ready meals.’
‘We’re a very down to earth family, but we always aimed to make sure all three of our children had self-confidence. Ben was our first, but we treated him no differently to his younger brother or sister. We didn’t wrap Ben up in cotton wool. Too often you don’t want to put yourself forward if you’re disabled, but we encouraged Ben to be confident in everything he did.’
‘Being enthusiastic for what they’re in to will really help with motivation. We’re a sporty family so we always shared Ben’s interest, and enthusiasm for, sport. His brother plays hockey. We read a lot as a family too. Not just novels but books that helped spark the kids interest in things. And we’d often chat about what was being talked about on the radio or TV.’
‘My role as a mum has changed hugely since Ben was little. He was always fiercely independent, but he had no choice but to rely on me when he was small. He has his own place now and drives himself around. Now, when he comes over, it’s about being supportive, listening, doing DIY jobs and preparing a meal. Just like all parents.’
‘I’m feeling very nervous about watching Ben compete in the Paralympics. He is brilliant at giving his all, but outside things might hinder that. As long as he’s happy with his performance – whether he gets a medal or not – I’ll be happy. I just want it to go well for him.’
Alison Rushgrove is working with P&G on their ‘Thank you, Mum’ campaign to tell her story of raising an Olympian. To view the film series, looking at what it’s like to raise a world-class athlete through the eyes of their mothers, visit youtube.com/PGWhere to next?
– Team GB’s tips for getting in shape
– Read our chat with Olympic silver medalist Rebecca Adlington
– Fun Olympics-inspired ideas for a fiver