How early is too early before deciding to introduce your child to some sporting activity? This is a question on the minds of many a parent wondering if their kid is ready for some real action. The key idea, of course, is for children to be active and healthy for their age, and have them enjoy the activity – be it’s a regular sport, an introduction to martial arts or just plain dancing!
Physical activity and organized sports can greatly benefit children in many ways, provided parents support and encourage children in their efforts. Let’s check out some of the many benefits that can prove immensely valuable to the kids.
Dexterity and Motor Skills Development
Physical pursuit enables children to easily master the art of coordinated movement, improving their ability to use the body and limbs comfortably. Fast and timely reflexes, flexibility and the capacity to quickly adapt to changes help our children meet daily life challenges quite easily. Organized sports can lead to conditioned responses that offer a competitive edge, should children choose to pursue the sport.
Reduced Risk of Childhood Obesity
Obesity in children is a common problem as of the present, especially kids who aren’t that active after school. Getting them enrolled in regular sports or letting them join teams or training classes can help keep the extra weight at bay, and any other health concerns related to weight that may surface.
Spike in Self-Confidence
Indulging in sports or physical activity such as biking with your kids or any preferred hobby triggers a sense of achievement and joy, leading the child to believe in his or her skills and encourage them to develop an ability to take up and complete the task. Here again, encouragement is essential to promote and sustain the feeling, with the support needed to back up the child in case the results aren’t immediately positive.
Improved Interpersonal and Social Skills
Sports are an avenue that can greatly help improve the way in which children interact with their friends, teammates or opponents – be it on and off the field. They learn how to behave as a team member, understand how it is to get along and interact with people other than their parents or loved ones, and also make decisions in their own small way.
Sports help promote interaction, especially if the child is shy or is scared to be away from parents for a period of time. A play or dance group, or a sports team can greatly help children learn how to make friends and spend time with them in an enjoyable manner. Of course, despite the occasional fights and tears, there are definitely a lot of lessons here that can be learnt early in life.
Alertness and Improved Vision
All types of physical activity demand concentration and alertness, automatically training the child to focus on the task with the aim of accomplishing the set goal, which in this case is winning a competition or a match. Organized sports such as basketball, hockey or baseball do tend to improve vision.
In order to reap the above-said benefits, parents should help children take both failure and success in their stride – this being a daily lesson for children who are introduced early to sports. Sports nutrition is yet another important aspect that parents need to take careful note of. An active child needs a healthy diet. Apart from loads of support and encouragement, do make sure your child gets his or her daily dose of needed nutrients and the right combination of energy-giving and body-building types of food to help them stay fit, healthy and happy!