Sports are an excellent way for children to learn the skills they’ll need to succeed in life. Whether you’re playing soccer or baseball, these games teach kids how to get along with others, work together, and be disciplined. Better yet, sports are a great form of exercise. They can help kids stay healthy and strong, which will serve them well when they grow up.
Children should participate in a variety of activities, including outdoor extracurricular activities, to broaden their horizons. Children will have the opportunity for social, educational, and physical benefits and can add skills to help them throughout life.
Kids who participate in sports also tend to be more physically fit than their peers. Studies show that kids who participate in sports at least four times a week have half the risk of obesity than those who don’t participate in any organized sport at all. Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons that sports are good for kids.
Benefit #1: Improve Self-Esteem
It’s not a secret that participating in sports can develop self-esteem and confidence. High-fives, a word of encouragement from teammates and coaches, a handshake, and a pat on the back are all ways self-esteem can be developed.
Developing self-esteem isn’t based on winning or losing. Instead, constructive criticism can be vital in helping children learn what areas they need to improve upon. The most important thing is to ask children if they had fun, not whether the outcome was a win or a loss.
Benefits #2: Learn to Accept Defeat
Through participation in sports, children can learn sportsmanship. After all, no one can win every time. Children will suffer losses and must learn to accept this without feeling like they failed.
Even the best lose many times, and children must realize that it’s important to keep trying. Being competitive is good, but no one likes being around a sore loser. Learn to accept defeat, be a good sport, and congratulate the winner on a job well done.
Just like children must accept team defeat, they must accept the fact that they will fail. Even the top players in the world will miss important shots, drop a pass, miss a field, goal, strikeout, and fail in any imaginable way. It’s how you accept this and move on that is important.
Benefit #3: Develop Social Skills
Playing sports helps children learn about teamwork and working well with others. This will help in situations as they grow older. Kids will learn to interact with people of different ages, backgrounds, and races.
Joining a sports team will help children make new friends, improve communication skills, learn to respect teammates and coaches, and feel a sense of belonging to a community. All of these skills will help them in every walk of life.
Benefit #4: Staying Disciplined
The type of discipline required to succeed in sports ranges from tactical to mental to physical. Without self-discipline, reaching your potential in sports would be very difficult. Children need to be able to take orders, follow the rules, and accept coaching decisions.
Listening to coaches and other players will help children learn that there are potential rewards for self-discipline and often repercussions for lack of discipline.
Benefits #5: Learn Teamwork
Children will naturally want to do what’s best for them. However, as a team, success is dependent upon players working together as a cohesive unit. Sports provide children with this important lesson. What is best for one child might not be the best for the team as a whole.
Learning strengths and weaknesses of their own, as well as their teammates, will help create a plan that is best for the team. That’s another vital skill to carry them through the future into their careers.
Benefit #6: Sports are Fun
Really this is one of the most important reasons children should play sports. Remember, kids play and like to make new friends. What better way than to play sports, which will help them learn life lessons and strategies while getting beneficial exercise.
If you have a child wary of trying sports, take him or her to a game and let them see how much fun it can be. This way, prompt them to give it a try!
Benefit #7: Encourages an Active Lifestyle
Playing sports can help children increase athleticism, stay in shape, reduce body fat, control body weight, increase mental health by building self-esteem, and strengthen bones that continue to grow throughout childhood. Starting an active lifestyle at a young age will likely carry over throughout life.
Benefit #8: Learn Time Management
Sports takes commitment, which means children must learn to manage their time. If your child knows there is a practice or a game at a particular time, he or she must make sure homework and other chores get completed before or after that game.
This forces children to set priorities; the best part is that they do this without realizing they are doing so. This is a great skill to learn at an early age that will carry with them as they get older.
Sports are a part of society and affect nearly everyone in some way, shape, or form. Playing sports typically has more benefits than drawbacks. Parents may have some reservations based on time commitments and a chance of injury. But we learn that they allow children to learn how to work hard, be a team player, work together with others, and have fun.
Sports also teach children how to handle losing, an important life lesson many people never learn. We suggest getting your kids involved and active, so they can reach their potential and grow into hardworking adults.