6 Reasons Your Children Should Play Sports
From football to softball, soccer to running track, a wide range of sports options are available to children of all ages. If your son or daughter isn’t already interested in playing a sport, now is the time to try to get them interested in it. Sports help your children in a variety of important ways.
Whether they’re swinging softball bats or kicking a soccer ball up and down the field, playing sports keeps kids active. This is especially important these days, as research shows that obesity among kids is on the rise. Sports increases a child’s athleticism and in the process, reduces body fat, controls weight, and strengthens bones. Sports can even help to lessen the symptoms of depression and anxiety in children. Additionally, the earlier a child develops an active lifestyle, the more likely he is to maintain it throughout his adult life.
One study of children in grades kindergarten through fourth grade shows that kids who played organized sports had improved cognitive skills over their peers who did not participate in organized sports. The sports players had improved achievement in academics, including in both grades and scores on standardized tests. They also concentrated more easily, paid attention to the teacher better, and exhibited improved behavior in the classroom.
Several studies show that children who play team sports have more confidence in themselves and higher self-esteem overall. This is because many interactions with other teammates, such as high-fives or handshakes after a match, help to build a child’s confidence. The same is true of encouragement or praise from other players or the coach. In addition, playing sports helps a child learn to trust his or her own abilities on and off the field. Keep in mind, though, that self-esteem should not be based solely on whether a child’s team won or lost. Instead of asking whether a child’s team won, focus on whether he or she enjoyed the game.
Student athletes often need to juggle school, homework, practice, and games, not to mention family obligations, other extracurricular activities, or part-time jobs. The younger a student begins to play sports, the earlier he will start to learn time management skills that carry him well into adulthood. He may set priorities early, such as knowing he needs to finish his homework before the game, leading him to be better at prioritizing as he grows.
Communication and teamwork, even with people you don’t like, is an essential part of life both as a child and as an adult. Playing sports will help to teach your child the necessity of participation, how to develop communication and problem-solving skills, and more. This is done via learning new plays, learning how to work together on the field or court, and much more. Playing on a team also creates a sense of community for your child, provides strong mentors, and leads to friendships that can last a lifetime.
Naturally, kids want to win when they’re playing sports. Unfortunately, that won’t always happen. Sometimes, the other team is going to win, and as your child grows, sometimes that other team is metaphorical. Young children learn sportsmanship and how to accept defeat, as well as that sometimes it just takes more practice and to try again. These skills are things they’ll carry into adulthood, learning that there is no harm in losing sometimes and that they can always keep trying to get the results they want.
Whether your child wants to try his hand at soccer or prefers to chase kids around on the flag football team, one thing is certain: getting him into sports at a young age is sure to set him up with skills he can use throughout his life.