The enhancement of physical and mental development of children is certainly the most important contribution of sports for children.
Due to its vast reach, unparalleled popularity and foundation of positive values, sport is definitely one of the greatest things man has ever created. It’s also a powerful tool that breaks down all the barriers and helps us feel good about ourselves, both physically and mentally. Sport is quite beneficial for children too: by playing sports children develop physical skills, exercise, make new friends, have fun, learn to be a team member, learn about play fair, improve self-esteem, etc.
The enhancement of physical and mental development of children is certainly the most important contribution of sports, but the list of values your child may learn and acquire through sports does not end here. Other positive aspects are numerous, which reveals the true beauty of sport.
When I went to basketball raining for the first time, I wasn’t aware that such experience would serve me for a lifetime. New friends I made on the court, and the positive energy that inspired and motivated us, keep reminding me of the good times I had. Though I stopped practicing after some time, I still recall those memories with a smile. All the players were more than friendly, helping me feel as an equal part of the team. We have developed true team spirit and we spent time together even after the practice. In addition, basketball contributed to my proper physical development and good posture, while some of the tactics and strategies helped me a lot in different aspects of life.
What benefits can come from sports?
Most parents wish to encourage children to play sports to help them feel valued. Every child can be successful at one sport or another. However, it takes time for parents to find the sport suitable for the child. Therefore, they should be patient in selecting the sports, since it is a process that will pay off in the long run.
No other thing in life affords children such opportunity to develop positive character traits and to soak up many quality values as sports does. Here are some benefits that may come from playing sports:
- Kids’ character and moral principles are formed through fair play. Moreover, children who are actively engaged in sports can be good role models for their peers from school, neighborhood, or even school choir, and inspire them to start playing some sports as well.
- Playing sports enables them to create friendships they otherwise might not have formed. For example, the friendships professional athletes create on the field remain intact even when they are not playing sports, and often last a lifetime.
- Sports bring people together from all over the world, regardless of their nationality, religion, culture, or skin color.
- Teamwork and benefits of social interaction among children are best seen in sports. Kids learn they are part of a team that requires the same effort from all members to succeed, as well as how to win with class, and lose with dignity.
- They view competitions on and off the field as opportunities to learn from their success and failure. In addition, losing often motivates kids to work even harder for next time.
- They learn to respect authority, rules, team colleagues and opponents.
- Sport is an important learning environment for children. Numerous studies have shown that children who play sports perform better at school. It is also within sport that peer status and peer acceptance is established and developed.
- Sports experiences help building positive self- esteem in children.
- In addition, participating in sports can be a helpful way of reducing stress and increasing feelings of physical and mental well-being, as well as fighting against juvenile delinquency, conflict and aggressive outbursts. The point is to keep the body in good health in order to be able to keep our mind strong and clear.
When children learn positive life lessons through sports, there is no doubt they will become honest, reliable adults who will try to help others in need at any moment.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to NOT impose unrealistic expectations and hard achievable goals on children from the start. Kids should participate in sports not for instant success and results, but rather to develop their physical and intellectual skills. Otherwise, forcing the child to play some sports may create a counter-effect and as a result make them develop an aversion to sports in general.
Instead, let your child should first get used to sports, accept it and get to like it so it can become part of his and her everyday life. Results, achievements, medals and awards may come later on, though they require a lot of hard work, discipline and sacrifice.
Also, it is important to allow your child to discover and explore other interesting things too besides sports so they don’t feel suffocated at your constant nagging how sports is good for them. Let them see the values of sports for themselves.
Know that the essence of sports is to unite all the people worldwide, regardless of their social background, their financial status and the country they come from. So if you think that you need money in order to play sports, you are wrong!
Sport is not a privilege of wealthy people. In less rich parts of the world you can see children running for a handmade ball on dusty streets, or racing on the road from home to school and back. For them too, sport is an inexhaustible source of inspiration and happiness.
As long as your child is involved in sports activities, he is in the world where he tries to be as best as he can be. All his senses, the locomotor system and intellectual capacities are engaged. By playing sports your child will not only become stronger physically but mentally too. Best of all, he will learn how to overcome any obstacles and challenges that will come his way. Isn’t that what we all need?
The world celebrates April 6 as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. Be physically active and encourage your child to play sports.