Most parents are interested in encouraging their children to be active and healthy. The benefits of playing sports for children are well documented. Their physical health will be improved and they can gain valuable social skills in the process. If you encourage your child to get involved with sports early, you are setting them up for healthy physical habits throughout their lifetime. Think of the benefits for their muscles and bones, weight control, better sleeping habits, and the decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Playing a sport can vastly improve your child’s self-confidence and allow them to feel real pride when they achieve something. Learning to stick with a certain sport or activity is important because it teaches children the importance of practice and hard work when achieving their goals. An element of competition can be beneficial and being part of team can increase feelings of belonging and a sense of cooperation. Playing a sport can also foster valuable skills like responsibility, as they must care for their equipment and attend practices and training sessions.
Let Them Choose
It might take a while for your child to settle on the sport that is most suited to them, so allow them to try a range of different activities. After all, they won’t know what they really want to do unless they’ve tried it. Don’t be disheartened if your child doesn’t hit upon their preferred sport immediately and try not to push them towards a particular activity that is more about your personal preference than theirs. If they don’t feel passionately about the sport, they are much less likely to stick at it.
The Cool Factor
If your child doesn’t show interest in a traditional team sport like football, netball, rugby or hockey, perhaps suggest a more alternative activity. Skateboarding, BMX biking and rollerblading have gained a great deal of popularity in recent years, think about pro-skateboarder Tony Hawke and Drew Barrymore’s feel-good roller derby hit Whip It. It’s easy to find the equipment and clothing necessary online, from sites like Skate Hut.
To participate in many sports, your child will need the right kit and equipment. Some activities will prove more costly than others and will depend on the facilities that are available in your home town. For example, there’s not much use in encouraging your children to try figure skating or ice hockey if there’s no rink nearby. Your job as a parent is to be as encouraging as possible and to financially support your child’s sporting passion as much as reasonably possible.