A sport is a good activity for children regardless of whether it is team sport or individual-based sport. Sports provide developing children with a unique outlet for life skills that are valuable and having fun. Allowing children to actively participate in various outdoor activities like sports assists them in exploring and developing skills that will help them in the entire lives. This is because children are exposed to different educational, physical emotional, social and mental benefits.
Some of the benefits associated with playing sports with regard to a child’s development include the following:
When children participate in sports, it helps them in developing their confidence and self-esteem. Gestures like handshake, a pat on the back or even a high five from a team mate builds confidence. In addition, when coaches or other players give those words of encouragement or praise, it helps with building self-esteem. However, it is important to realize that self-esteem should be based on neither losing nor winning. Constructive criticism helps children to know their weaknesses and they can ultimately improve on themselves.
Playing sports helps children in developing important social skills that will be useful even in their later life. It educates them on cooperating with others and about teamwork. Children get to interact with individuals of different ages. Becoming part of a sports team provides children with a sense of belonging and allows them to make friends. Friendship circles are what help to enhance their communication skills, this will be vital in their future relationships and careers. Other social skills that sports helps to develop in children are leadership, independence, respect for others, fair play and communication.
All sports require athletes to be much disciplined. The discipline could be in form of tactical, physical or mental. Improvement in sports requires discipline; it needs children to exercise self-restraint. Children will be required follow certain rules, accept decisions and orders made by the coach. Good discipline is highly appreciated because bad discipline is penalized. Listening to their peers and coach helps them to learn essential life skills that will assist them in life and in career.
It helps in decreasing the quantity of time that children spend playing video games and watching television. Sports promote physical health of children in the following ways:
- It improves fitness
- It decreases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- It helps in controlling body fat
- It makes the heart stronger
- It strengthens the joints, bones and muscles.
The mental benefits of sports for development of children are impressive. The body is programmed to secret serotonin during physical activity and this contributes to well-being of children who participate in sporting activity. It also helps to relieve anxiety, depression and stress. It is important to keep in mind that children like adults experience these emotions and sports helps to combat them. In addition, it helps to have better sleep without the use of a sleeping aid and to remain mentally sharp. This has a direct correlation to school performance in areas like retention of information, reading and math.
The benefits of sports with regard to development of children that have been listed above are not exhaustive as there are many more. However, the main values that sports as well as physical education instructs children is adherence to rules, respect for others, respect for themselves, fair play, team work and honesty.
There are several ways by which you can encourage your child to join/ participate in sports. It is not as easy as learning a musical instrument like ukulele, but it is worth it. Some of them include the following:
- You can play a sport with your children.
- Limit the amount of time that your children spend on sedentary activities like playing computer games or watching television.
- Supporting the efforts of your children in sports. You can do this by attending matches to encourage him/her.
- Be physically active in sports, a classical case of leading by example.
Adults get to understand the benefits of staying physically active. They know that it does more than just keep the body functioning optimally and healthy. Participation in sports assists in building confidence and self-esteem, motivating children to excel academically and in building social skills. It can educate them on the advantages of practice and goal- setting.