Sports are a way of life for many children. They learn to play catch even before they go to school, and many continue to be involved in athletic activities for the rest of their lives. But is early engagement in sports really that helpful for childhood development?
The short answer is yes.But first, let’s look at what we mean by “sports.” The Oxford Dictionary defines sports as “individual or group physical activities that are usually competitive and entertaining.”
Competitive physical activities for adults have been around since the dawn of recorded history. Stone Age artists carved images of wrestlers and hunters on skis onto the walls of their caves. Ballgame courts have been discovered in Mexico that dates back 3,500 years.
By contrast, sports for children came about more recently. About 2,000 years ago, boys ages 7 and older in Athens and Sparta received physical education as part of their military training. A more modern version of gym class did not begin in Europe until the 18th century.
Today, children’s sports have become widely accepted as a vital component of childhood development. Here are 10 reasons a sports program could benefit your child.
1. Physical Health and Stamina
In ancient times, out of necessity, children were much more active than they are today. They walked, ran, jumped, swam, hunted and farmed just to survive. Now that technology has made our modern lives more sedentary, an active lifestyle is one of the most important habits we can instill in our children.
Regular exercise leads to greater flexibility, bone and muscle strength and aerobic fitness, all of which can reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and other health conditions. Being part of an organized sport will motivate children to stay in shape by encouraging them to walk and do other exercises at home, get proper nutrition and avoid excessive social media time.
Children in the U.S. are not as physically fit as they once were. According to a 2016 study cited by CNN, American youth ranked only 47th out of 50 when compared with the performance of youth from other countries on 20-meter running tests.The Centers for Disease Control recommend that children engage in at least one hour of physical activity every day.
2. Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Participating in sports gives children something positive to aspire to and serves as an alternative to unhealthy activities such as drugs, smoking or criminal behavior.
As they get older, they’ll have a pastime they can be involved in throughout their lives, like golf, skating, skiing, swimming or tennis.In addition, they’ll have an insider’s understanding of the rules of the sport or game, which makes being a spectator that much more enjoyable.
Others Read: How Become financial lucky Using Law of Attraction
Being on a sports team or part of a school sports program helps children meet other kids with similar interests, as well as introducing them to those of different cultures and backgrounds. They will be more likely to strike up lasting friendships and avoid isolation when they have the opportunity to interact with a consistent set of peers on a regular basis.
4. Academic Performance
Children who participate in sports are more motivated to stay in school, improve attendance and keep up their grades — if only so they can remain on the team. Regular fresh air and exercise are natural ways to boost alertness, energy and mental stamina, which are indispensable during study time and tests.
Tasks such as memorizing routines, calculating scores and developing strategies are all ways to exercise the mind. Having a special interest in sports can inspire students to read sports biographies and articles about top athletes, often providing topics they will want to investigate further. Plus, that knowledge will be useful when they need to write essays or come up with science project ideas.
5. Work Ethic
Involvement in sports gives kids a chance to learn essential life skills such as goal-setting, time management and care of equipment. Other skill also there like sticking to schedules, self-discipline, patience, commitment.
The lessons they learn in these areas will be the foundation for a strong work ethic that will serve them well in the future.
Sports can be a humbling experience, but this is a good thing. Children learn to be a member of a team rather than hogging the spotlight. They see how to work in tandem with others, and they get to experience the joy of team spirit and loyalty.
Whether your child is a natural at sports or just learning the ropes, they’ll develop confidence as they see improvement. It’s one way to gently nudge shy kids outside of their comfort zones, and it can be instrumental in teaching leadership skills.
Involvement in sports can make kids more aware of inspiring positive role models, such as female champion athletes.
Do you want your child to learn how to follow rules even when they disagree and how to get along with difficult people? If so, sports may be the answer you’ve been looking for. When the umpire calls them out or the coach benches them, they’ll learn how to cope with disappointment. This can support an attitude of good sportsmanship as well as a constructive way to deal with feelings of aggression both on and off the field.
9. Family Time
As most parents know, if your child is on a sports team, you’re on it too. You’ll be involved in everything from practice to uniforms to getting them to and from the games. And, of course, you’ll be there when they play. In short, you’ll be their biggest fan. Family time is all-important when it comes to your child’s emotional development. If you volunteer your time as a coach, pack a golf cart full of a big water cooler and healthy snacks to keep the team satisfied and supported during practice and games.
A recent study asked a group of players, coaches, and parents, to compile a list of things that make youth sports fun. The three highest-ranked components of fun were “being a good sport,” “positive coaching” and “trying hard.”
In many ways, sports will be an enjoyable outlet for your child. They’ll look forward to following teams, watching games and rooting for their favorites. They’ll love winning, but they’ll also love being a part of something bigger than themselves.
Life can be stressful these days, and kids are not exempt from that stress. Participating in a sport can give your child a chance to expend pent-up energy and just have fun.
Any sports program for your child should follow well-recognized safety protocols, such as the use of helmets, limits during inclement weather and others. Get to know the person in charge of your child’s sports program and communicate with them if you have any concerns.
If your child has special needs, remember that federal law requires schools to provide adaptive physical education when it is appropriate. Your child should be allowed to participate with typical peers to the fullest extent possible.
What if your child doesn’t want to participate in sports? Perhaps you believe your child isn’t athletic, has other interests or just doesn’t like the idea of sports right now. Don’t force the issue but do encourage it.
Remember there are many variations on the sports theme. Bowling, track or cheerleading may be more to their liking, or perhaps they could be the team scorekeeper. Talking with your school’s physical education teacher may be helpful.