Children love to run around and burn off some energy, and it’s to be encouraged.
Children who expend their energy in the day in a physical manner usually sleep better at night and as a result, they’re helping to maintain a healthy weight for a child. We all know that childhood obesity is in the rise and that comes with a whole range of health risks, including diabetes and heart problems in later life.
Teaching your child the importance of physical activity is vital if you want them to be happy and healthy. You can do that by simply encouraging them to move around more, taking them out for bike rides, going for a run in the park together, playing football or tennis, playing catch with a ball, anything which involves movement and getting a little out of breath is a good thing.
Of course, another option is to encourage your child to play a sport, or maybe more than one.
Advantages of Sports For Children
Not all children are very sporty naturally, but encouraging them to give it a go and find a sport which they like is a good idea. There are many different sports, so there is bound to be something they want to try, whether it’s a team sport or something they do individually.
So, why should kids play sports? What are the advantages?
Sports Teach Children About Health And Fitness
Any sport requires training. If your child joins a sports team or they want to play a sport on a regular basis, they’ll quickly understand that they need to keep their fitness levels up in order to enjoy what they’re doing. Children’s sports teams usually have a qualified coach at the helm, who will teach them in a careful way about how to look after their bodies, e.g. warming up, warming down, etc.
By doing this, your child will understand why it’s important to stay active in general and that will stay with them throughout their lives. In terms of sport, they will want to keep up with their peers, and that means they’re more likely to remain active, rather than falling foul of sitting on the sofa with a phone or tablet and becoming quite unhealthy as a result.
Helps to Prevent Childhood Obesity
When a child finds a sport they enjoy, they’ll want to be the best at it and they’ll want to do it as much as they can. This is ideal because it helps to keep their weight in check.
Of course, you shouldn’t press this post home, you should simply allow it to happen as a side effect. By pushing the idea of managing weight onto a small child, you could cause body image problems or a distorted relationship with food at a later age. However, by simply encouraging them to do the sports they enjoy, they’re going to manage their weight naturally, because they’re active and therefore burning calories. We’ve already mentioned that childhood obesity is a concern, and being active helps to counteract that.
Teaches Them That Winning And Losing Are Both Okay
Of course, if your child plays a sport they will always want to win, but they won’t win all the time. This will teach them a valuable lesson about winning and losing and that both are equally as okay. It’s fine to be competitive, but children have to learn that not everything can go their way all the time. Sport is an ideal way to do that, especially if it’s a team sport as they will win and lose together.
Teaches Them Teamwork And Leadership Skills
Any type of sport helps children to learn key skills, such as leadership skills and teamwork. This is especially pertinent if your child is playing a team sport with other children, as they will have to work together towards one common aim and they will quickly see that selfishness doesn’t help!
Children also learn about leadership from sports as they will need to work with others to achieve a common goal, therefore giving advice and leading their team mates at certain times, whether they’re the captain or not.
Helps Them to Make Friends
Playing a sport helps children to make friends and they become a support system for one another. This is especially useful if your child finds it hard to meet new people or perhaps they’re a little shy. The fun and enjoyment they get out of the sport will give them confidence to speak to their team mates and as a result, new friendships will quickly be formed. This will continue to build their confidence and help them to shrug off shyness and be generally more sociable in their school setting.
Helps Them to Deal With Difficult Feelings in a Healthy Way
Children go through lots of different stresses in their lives. From falling out with friends to changing hormones as they become a little older, perhaps separation of parents and a million other possible variables, but sport can give them a healthy outlet for their emotions and help them to work through their upset, anger, grief, and any other negative emotion they maybe struggling with. Not all children find it easy to put their emotions into words, but sport can help them to do that and deal with what they’re feeling, without going down a negative or destructive route.
As you can see, children should be encouraged to play sports, whether individual or as part of a team. There are many fantastic advantages and very few (if any) downsides! Encourage your child to be as active as possible and help them to explore different sports they might enjoy. Try not to push them towards one particular sport, and instead allow them to gravitate towards the sport they find the most enjoyable and which fits with their skills and ability level best.
If nothing else, your child will be a lot healthier as a result of all that running around, and they’ll certainly sleep better at night too!