Over 36 million kids play organized sports. Participating in sports can be a great way for kids to compete and stay active. But there’s more to it than wins and losses.
Kids sports are good for young people for a variety of reasons. Here are five you may not have thought about.
Exposure to a Diversity of Other Kids
School tends to group children by geography and age. Sports can expand the social circle significantly. Most youth sports put a range of ages on the same teams, and the kids can be from anywhere.
Knowing other kids from a variety of social, economic, racial, and religious backgrounds make a big difference in how your children grow up. Compassion and understanding for others develop naturally when you work and play together.
Playing Various Roles
Your child may not normally have a chance to be a leader, but in sports they can become the captain. Even a kid who is shy can come out of their shell in a team environment.
A naturally aggressive kid may find themselves on the bench at times. Children who play multiple sports are especially likely to have a variety of experiences – they may excel in baseball but struggle in soccer. The different environments are a good experience.
A Boost in Self Esteem
Someone who struggles academically may find his or her niche in sports. It can help those who don’t fit in traditionally to discover a way to express themselves and excel in a new area.
The praise and encouragement that kids get from coaches and teammates can bring out the best in a child. You may find that your kid blooms and becomes a whole new individual because of participation in kids sports.
Understanding the Value of Money
Kids sports are expensive, but a lot of young people don’t realize it right away. However, being involved in sports can help your child understand more about the value of money.
If he or she wants the best basketball shoes, something else may have to go. Helping children understand tradeoffs using sports is a great way to expand the benefits beyond the playing field.
If your kid is involved in multiple sports, help them understand the tradeoffs. If they want to travel for volleyball, you can let them know that they have to stay local for gymnastics, for instance.
The Development of Healthy Habits
Being successful in sports requires exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sleep, and more. These healthy habits don’t just happen during childhood. They can go with kids for the rest of their lives.
Habits are things that you get used to, that are so normal to you that they are second nature. When the choices that seem normal to your child are exercise, solid rest, discipline, and right eating, he or she is set up for a successful adulthood.
Are You Ready for Kids Sports?
Getting children to be involved in sports can be challenging for parents, especially if there’s a lot of travel. Be sure to talk to your kids about the choices they need to make regarding time and finances. Having them understand the trade-offs makes decisions easier.
Some parents decide to have kids only participate in two out-of-school activities a year. Others are committed to providing as much diversity as possible.
There’s no right answer – it’s a choice as individual as your family. How do you balance sports for your children? Let us know in the comments!