Winning and medals aside, however, involvement in sports has real benefits for kids’ physical, social, and even moral development. What follows are 10 of the best reasons on why you should make sports a priority for your child.
- Promotes Health and Wellness The health benefits of physical activity are well documented. Health benefits that result from regular participation in physical activity include reducing the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and improving metabolic health in youth. Physically active youth also typically have lower body fatness and their bones are stronger. Regular involvement in sports and physical activity is one of the best ways to promote health and fitness among young people and to fight obesity in today’s youth.
- Improves Academics According to researchers at Michigan State University’s Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, young people who play sports perform better in school than those who don’t. Regular participation in sports teaches kids to focus on a task at hand and to manage their time effectively as they juggle school, sports, and a social life.
- Encourages Sportsmanship Kids who participate in sports hone the invaluable skill of winning graciously and losing well. Being able to shake hands with the competitor, no matter what the outcome of an event, serves children well into their adult lives. Furthermore, being part of a group and learning to do what is best for the team as a whole is one of the most valuable benefits of sports for young people.
- Promotes Positive Peers Sports can provide an instant social network for kids. For a child who has difficulty finding their niche in school, a team sport may offer much-needed camaraderie and support. Even for young people who have no trouble fitting in, sports offer connections with like-minded peers who are focused on constructive goals.
- Builds Self-Esteem Children develop positive self-esteem through accomplishments. Sports give kids opportunities to learn, achieve, and feel good about themselves through skill development and goal-oriented activities. When parents and coaches emphasise effort and improvement over winning or individual performances, they foster healthy self-image and positive self-esteem.
- Teaches Teamwork Children learn all sorts of valuable social lessons through sports. For younger players, sharing the ball, listening to team mates, and following group rules are fundamentals of good play. Being part of a group and learning to do what is best for the team as a whole is one of the most valuable benefits of sports for young people.
- Works Towards a Goal Be it bringing home the championship trophy, winning the tournament, earning a black belt, or scoring a perfect 10, most sports feature some sort of “ultimate goal” for kids. Sports provide children with invaluable experience in breaking long-term goals into short term objectives. Life skills, such as commitment and perseverance, are honed as kids mature beyond needs for instant gratification, and work toward goals that demand long hours and hard work.
- Fosters Perseverance Children who participate in sports face injuries, disappointments, and defeats. Those who learn to take setbacks in stride and dust themselves off for the next round benefit from life lessons in perseverance and persistence.
- Prevents Trouble Participating in sports and being accountable to a group provides young people with constructive, trouble-busting structure, and has been shown to reduce criminal mischief amongst kids.
- Encourages Fun This is perhaps the least talked about benefit, yet the reason group games originated; sports are meant to be fun! When competition is kept in check and sportsmanship is prioritised, pastimes that involve running, jumping, throwing, catching, diving, scoring, and high-fiving are made for cheering. Kids, who know that fun is the name of any game, are more likely to sign up to play and commit to a sport over the long haul.
Kids who play sports don’t just benefit physically, but holistically too. What are some sports you’ve signed your child up for? Leave us a comment down below.