All parents have that internal battle about whether their kids should play sports. Youth sports are a prevalent part of our society, and kids across the country participate in a variety of events every weekend.
If you have kids in sports right now, you might dread all the practices and games that fill your calendar. But if you have seen the way your son lights up after hitting their first baseball, or the way your daughter smiles after making her first basket, you know there is something special about playing sports.
While your kids playing sports can add stress and busyness to your already filled schedule, it provides many benefits for your children, as well.
1. Physical Activity
The most apparent benefit of kids playing sports is physical activity. When you sign your kids up to play any sport, whether individual or team sports, they get the chance to be active. Rather than spending their afternoons and weekends playing video games or watching movies, they will be outside getting exercise.
It is no secret that kids today have a hard time maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The CDC reports that 18.5% of children, or 13.7 million children and adolescents struggle with being obese. Encouraging your kids to participate in physical activities helps keep them in a healthy weight range.
Furthermore, helping your kids develop an active lifestyle will set them up for success in the future. If getting exercise and being physical becomes part of their routine now, they have a better chance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as an adult.
On top of the physical exercise kids get playing sports, they will also develop social skills. Social interaction is an essential part of all aspects of life. Youth sports are an excellent place for kids to learn about and practice interacting with kids in a variety of situations.
Whether your children play individual or team sports, there are chances to socialize in a competitive situation. Not only will your children learn to interact with kids in their age group, but they will also be around older individuals like coaches, officials, and older athletes.
In youth sports, kids learn a variety of skills that will benefit them throughout their life. Of course, kids will learn about leadership while playing sports, but they will also learn about working with a team and communicating with a group.
An important skill that will help your children throughout their lives is self-esteem. Having a high view of themselves will help your kids achieve many things in school, personal relationships, and jobs. Participating in sports will help kids develop self-esteem.
When kids play sports, they will receive praise and encouragement from you as parents, but also from their coaches and teammates. Getting this praise increases their self-confidence. As their confidence increases, young athletes will learn to trust themselves and their abilities. They will push themselves to try harder and more challenging things.
Beyond gaining self-esteem, sports teaches youth to deal with criticism. Constructive criticism plays an integral role in sports. Your kids will get ample opportunity to learn how to receive criticism and how it can benefit them.
4. Academic Success
Children who participate in sports are also more likely to excel in the academic world, as well. Because youth in sports learn many skills, like dedication and hard work, they can apply these to their schoolwork.
Female athletes are three times more likely to graduate high school than students who don’t participate in sports, according to Athlete Assessments. After school, student-athletes are generally highly successful. 95% of executives at Fortune 500 companies were involved in high school athletics.
Along with the physical activity that comes with playing sports, athletics encourages lifelong health and wellness. When kids are involved in physical activities, they are more likely to stay engaged throughout their lifetime. Some sports promote long-lasting participation, like swimming and golf, but involvement in any sport is beneficial.
Furthermore, kids who maintain an active lifestyle are generally more aware of the role food has on their body. Combining physical activity with healthy food choices sets children up for success in the future.
When kids are involved in youth sports, there are many chances for bonding. As parents, you can help your children prepare for games and practices. There are also many chances for conversations about what they are enjoying and learning throughout the season.
When parents are involved in the sports kids are playing, the kids are more likely to be successful. If your kids know they can turn to you to discuss their season, or know they can look up in the stands and see you, your bond will grow. As your children grow, it is vital to find additional ways to solidify your relationship and show them you support them.
7. Sports are Fun
One of the most important things about sports, and why your children will likely return year after year, is that sports are fun. Being involved in an event, your kid’s love will keep them coming back. While not every kid will enjoy every sport, it is easy to find something your kids love.
There is something for everyone in youth sports. Depending on where you live, you can find more than traditional games like basketball, soccer, baseball, football combination. Today, many youths are involved in volleyball, dance, wrestling, fencing, and more. There are so many leagues and organizations that offer children experiences that will last a lifetime.
If you are considering sports for your kids, you are not alone. Countless leagues and organizations offer sports and activities throughout the year. Spend some time talking with your kids about what is available. They might already have something in mind.
There is one thing you can be sure of with your kids playing sports; they will learn something and have fun. Not every game and practice will be the best, and it may take some pushing and prodding to get through the season, but they will learn about themselves and the importance of following through.