Parenting is one of the most difficult jobs on earth. There are so many tough questions to ask and choices to make. Today’s parents are finding it more difficult to encourage their kids to be active, a problem nobody would have conceived 40 years ago.
It’s sad but true. Video games and other popular technologies have stolen the spotlight from more physical activities that kids need to be healthy. Think about what your child’s interests are and whether they might be attracted to one of the sports on this list. It’s vital for a child to be invested, since 70 percent of kids abandon team sports by the time they turn 13. The psychological lessons that come from working as part of a team and learning to cooperate with others will stay with kids for a lifetime.
These are all great ways to get kids active, encourage social interaction and maybe even learn a few life lessons.
The sport that the rest of the world knows as football is a great children’s game that teaches coordination, encourages athleticism and strengthen’s teamwork skills. Soccer is played all around the world, and people begin learning the game as early as age 4. In the past, soccer was less popular in the United States. However, the game has seen a resurgence, with team USA becoming competitive in World Cup competition and Major Leauge Soccer seeing top stars from Europe come to the U.S. to play. That means kids have more heroes to look up to than ever before.
Baseball is a great way to teach coordination in a more detail-oriented environment. Kids can start their baseball career early playing tee-ball and advance through a well-developed system of Little League, as well as more competitive organizations like American Legion Baseball. Baseball has been called America’s pastime and is a sport steeped in history and tradition. Watching the ball and learning to catch and throw will help develop important hand-eye coordination skills.
Basketball is an excellent way for kids to learn body control and quick decision-making. It’s a team game that involves a lot of substitution. This can pose a challenge at first, but it’s a great tool for kids to learn the importance of sharing time on the court with their teammates.
You might be surprised to see something that’s not considered a team sport on this list. Although there are teams in competitive cycling, what’s more important for children is to learn balance, coordination and a mode of transport. For many kids, riding a bike is the best way to get from point A to point B long before driving is allowed. The cycling community is huge and allows children to develop their interest in a number of different directions, including road cycling, mountain biking and BMX. Plus, they’ll quit bothering you for rides all the time.
5. Martial Arts
Some parents might balk at the idea of their child doing a combat sport. However, if you find the right dojo or gym, there are a multitude of benefits. A good karate or other martial arts school teaches children how important it is to never use what they learn out of malice. Rather than encourage conflict, this sport can teach children how to avoid it, along with the important values of confidence, self-discipline, respect and mental toughness. If there ever is cause for them to defend themselves, they can put what they learned into action. That’s actually something parents can take comfort in.
Make Time for Sports
Being present in your child’s development is something every parent wants, and sports create great opportunities for that. Imagine how good your child will feel putting the skills you’ve helped them learn into action with you watching on the sidelines. Sports are a good metaphor for life in that regard. Kids who integrate sports into their lives have a richer social experience and develop essential life skills. They’re also more likely to be healthy because of the benefits of the physical activity.
Help your child choose a sport they enjoy playing, and encourage them every step of the way. They will reap the benefits for a lifetime.