It is difficult to figure out activities for your children: How many activities should you and your children commit to? Which activities will your children enjoy doing? How will these activities benefit your kids? There are many options when it comes to extracurricular activities that it can be hard to choose, but you should always look to your kids and take note of their personal interests to help guide your decisions.
You should also try to give your children a variety of experiences, including encouraging them to try various sports! There are a lot of benefits to kids being involved in athletics - regardless of the sport. Sports (when balanced with other activities) give children the opportunity to grow into well-rounded, confident, hard- working adults.
Here are many reasons why playing sports can be great for kids:
They may love a sport! Many kids are craving an outlet for their abundance of energy. They may fall in love with the idea that they can go someplace and be encouraged to run faster and jump higher! Sports can be an amazing outlet for fun and exercise, and there is a variety to choose from. Let them try different sports and see if there is one they fall in love with.
There is a way to be age-appropriate. Involving your kids in sports at a young age does not mean they are going to be taken out of your home and moved across the country to train to be a world-class athlete at five years old. It is up to you to keep tabs on what is reasonable for each child and their personality.
It is okay to push your children a little bit. You shouldn’t always shy away from pushing your children when they need a nudge. After all, you encourage your children to read, write, and learn math. You don’t think twice about making your kids go to school every day. Yet when it comes to sports (that can also be valuable to their development), parents tend to shy away from regular sports practice.
Signing up for competitive/successful teams has benefits. If your children are going to put in the time and effort, why not make sure they are getting the most out of it? Competitive teams often mean that your children will be surrounded by knowledgeable coaches and motivated peers. They will be able to learn core skills that will benefit them down the road.
There are incredible life lessons to be learned. Sports offer an amazing learning experience for life lessons. Kids are able to see the importance of hard work because they see first-hand that the more they practice, the better they get! They are able to understand the value in taking calculated risks (for example, they will never score a goal if they don’t take the shot). They learn how to respect their coaches and be a good teammate. They begin to understand that some days you win, and some days you lose.
Doors may open to unique opportunities. If your child falls in love with a sport and commits to it, there may be some cool opportunities that come their way! For example, traveling to competitions, being part of a unique community, even achieving a school scholarship. Children are able to gain perspective and maturity through the unique experiences that sports provide along the way.
What else are they going to be doing with their time? Be honest with yourself. If your children skipped out on sports practice, what would be they doing instead: Watching TV? Bickering? Jumping off your furniture? Wouldn’t you rather them be in the fresh air at soccer practice, running around and learning the value of teamwork? Sports remain important as they grow into teens and put their time and effort into something productive.
They won’t be ‘missing out.’ Parents often worry about their kids missing out on their childhood - and rightfully so! You don’t want to turn your children into ‘athlete robots,’ but you can establish balance. Always listen to your gut and take cues from each kid. If it seems like a child’s sports schedule is too much, it probably is. If a child wants to take on a higher commitment to the sport, let them try.
Teammates may become family. When sports are an integral part of a child’s life, their teammates may become their best friends. They are able to share the good days and the bad and create connections that may well last into adulthood. When you train side by side with someone for hours each and every week, that bond typically doesn’t just disappear.
Are sports for everyone? No. Is it something your kids can at least try and have fun with? Absolutely! Whether they participate in sports for one or 10 years, sports can still teach them valuable life lessons while having fun along the way.
Shari is the co-owner of the parenting website, adorethem.com. Adore Them strives to share positive, practical advice and resources to help you find joy in your own parenting journey.
Calgary’s Child Magazine © 2022 Calgary’s Child