When kids discover an organized sport, whether it’s a team sport (such as soccer or basketball), an individual sport (such as martial arts or long-distance running), or a sport that has both team and individual events (such as tennis and swimming), they’re more likely to experience the benefits of sports when a number of factors are present.
Ensuring a Positive Experience in Kids’ Sports
Make sure your children’s sports involve caring adults and teammates. When there’s a strong sense of community, kids are more likely to have fun, build relationships, and play together well.
Find kids’ sports that get your child excited. Some would prefer to play on the hockey team while others get excited about fencing, cheerleading, or gymnastics. Being excited about a sport will ensure that your child stays active and receives the benefits of sports. Keep kids safe. More than 3.5 million kids require medical treatment every year for sports-related injuries.
- Make sure they’re wearing the right gear, that they warm up properly, take breaks, play safe, and stop as soon as something hurts. Download the American Academy of Pediatrics’ 2009 Sports Injury Prevention Tip Sheet.
- Know that some kids’ sports have higher injury rates than others. Any sport that requires contact (such as running into someone or something) has the potential of being more dangerous than a children’s sport that does not.
- Discover sports that help your child learn new skills, master older skills, and keep learning, all of which are important benefits of sports. A sport should stimulate your child and help her grow.
- Look for sports teams with caring, competent coaches. Kids are more likely to enjoy competing in their sport when coaches know their names, support and challenge them, and care about them. No one likes to play a kids’ sport where the coach is overly competitive and chews out players when they make mistakes.
- One of the best ways to support your child’s participation in a sport is to volunteer as a coach. Many community education programs ask for parents to coach children’s teams, and this is a fun way to build your relationship with your child as well as add some activity to your daily schedule.
There are many children’s sports that are available your kids, no matter how old they are. Young children, pre-teens, and teens can all reap the benefits of sports participation, regardless of which kinds of sports they’re into. You’ll be doing a great service by keeping your kids active, both to them and their lifelong health.
In a time when obesity is becoming an epidemic, it’s important to teach your children the basics of fitness. By getting them involved in sports and other physical activities, you can lay the groundwork for a healthy life for your kids. And by teaching them other necessary skills, such as how to maintain a balanced diet, you will be setting them on the right path for a healthy future.