By Allen Brown
Getting your kids into a sport early is a great idea for several reasons: it gets your kids away from the TV, and out into the real world socializing with other children, and keeps them fit! Practicing sports also improves physical and mental well-being and helps children develop key social skills which they will carry for the rest of their lives. Here are four key reasons to get your child away from the video games and onto the sport’s fields.
1. Sports Improve Physical and Mental Wellbeing
First and foremost, practicing sports has many physical benefits. For instance, it improves cardiovascular health, supports growth, and strengthens muscles in a healthy way. Supporting our children’s fitness is important for them as, in the U.S., as much as 13.7 million children and adolescents are obese. The presence of P.E. class is not enough, and the key is to find a sport that your child finds exciting! That way they will look forward to engaging in it and it will not be seen as a tiresome chore.
We have to be careful to not use sports just as a way to improve physical well-being, though, because this could lead to limiting perceptions on the benefits of engaging in sports. When children find a sport they like, it is also good for their mental wellbeing. Start small, such as looking into getting basketball hoops for kids, which is something you can put in your backyard. Having easy access makes it easy for your kid to have a go at it and have some fun with his/her parents. It is never too early to curate a love for sports; we just have to learn to nurture that love.
2. It Gives Kids a Chance to Develop Social Skills
Practicing a sport is a great way for children to develop their social skills, particularly team sports. There is a lot of communicating, listening, and working together in team sports, and each of these skills is vital to have as kids and adults. For instance, you need each of those skills for a job, so why not master them early on so they become second nature. What’s more, sports give kids a chance to socialize with a diverse range of other kids, away from the school environment. They can unknowingly learn a lot about differences and can break down prejudices early on.
Additionally, for a lot of sports, there is a team captain, which offers the chance for kids to work towards a leadership role. If your kid is lucky enough to be captain, it will teach them a lot about motivation, responsibility and communication. If your child is not so lucky, it will teach them how to deal with disappointment, which is a big lesson to learn as well.
3. Confidence Booster
Playing sports is a great way for children to boost their confidence and self-esteem. When they feel good at a sport, their confidence will only continue to grow! Plus, through compliments, encouragement and attention from both coaches and parents, these things will help boost the self-esteem of the kids. Aside from the praise that comes from adults, children will experience praise from their peers, and there is no greater feeling for a kid when he scores a goal or hits a home run and all of his friends come running towards him to embrace him. The feeling of respect being earned will do wonders for confidence. So, if you have a kid who is quite shy, getting them into sport early on can help them break out of their shell. Sports can offer them a safe place to be themselves and to excel.
4. It Can Lead to Something More
While the professional sporting world is an extremely difficult world to break into, it provides your kids with an aspiration to work towards. It is probably not a good idea to inflate your children with excessively unrealistic ideas, but it is still important to nurture their dreams so that they do not give up. Even if your child does not become the next Tom Brady, universities and colleges offer life-changing scholarships for talented sportsmen and sportswomen, so if your child is talented enough to apply for these scholarships, that could make all the difference for them.
There is a lot to be learned about the wider picture of sports and what it can lead to. It teaches children about responsibility, motivation, enjoyment and it also teaches them some of the harder lessons in life too. For example, missing out on captain, or losing a game in the last minute. Finding your kid a sport they enjoy will allow them a chance to thrive in both the sporting world and the real world.