There’s no denying that physical activity is good for kids. It’s good for everyone! For many children, being physically active is most enjoyable in the context of playing sports. Sports give structure and meaning to whatever activity is being pursued. Still, not every child takes to it naturally. Fortunately there are things you can do to help them thrive!
Encourage Them to Join a Team
Children need to connect to other children. It’s part of what helps them develop mentally and emotionally. That’s part of why joining a team can be such a formative experience for a child. Team sports give children a chance to get to know others their age and to work together towards a common goal. There are a ton of different team sports out there to choose from, some of which involve more direct teamwork than others. Your child should be able to find some sort of team sport they enjoy without too much trouble.
Keep Them Safe and Healthy
One of the most obvious benefits of participating in sports are those tied to physical health. Of course, going too far or pushing too hard in a sport can be dangerous too. Be involved and supportive of your child, but don’t push them so hard that it becomes a dangerous thing for them to participate. Help them eat a healthy diet and get the rest they need to fuel their bodies. Encourage them to warm up and stretch before playing to reduce their risk of injury. Some sports injuries require some physical therapy to recover from. The amount of time it takes to recover could mean sitting out the rest of the season, which can be tough for a kid to experience.
Set a Good Example
Children are like sponges. They absorb the world around them. Because of this, a lot of what you say and do has a huge impact on their own behaviour and perception of their world. You’d better believe that they see the way you talk to and about other players, parents, coaches, and the officials. Your example teaches them how to behave, which impacts how they interact with their teammates and vice versa. If you want them to learn good sportsmanship and reap its benefits, you need to set an example first.
Participating in sports can do some truly amazing things for children. Sports teach them how to work hard for something they want, how to work with others, how to be sportsmanlike, how to have fun, and how to enjoy being physically active. Help your child find a sport they love to participate in so they can enjoy all of these amazing benefits.
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