Kids should start practicing sport as early as possible. However, we often wonder about which sport should our kids practice? The answer is – the ones they love! If you are curious about the way to help them pick the perfect sport and contribute to them having a healthy lifestyle, you are in the right place!
The truth is that our kids today don’t spend nearly enough time being physically active. When we were growing up being outside was the best thing in the world. We didn’t necessarily practice a specific sport but we were playing soccer and basketball with friends. We climbed trees, rode bicycles or rollerblades, and created various games. Nowadays, kids spend most of their days online, playing video games, watching YouTube, or hanging on social media. Now, because of remote education, kids are spending even more time sitting in front of screens. We are aware that the current situation with the pandemic calls for such measures. However, we are also aware that this situation doesn’t help the children to develop a healthy lifestyle.
We are often hearing about the ways how sedentary life affects adults. Hence you are probably aware of it. But do you know how it affects kids? Did you know that lack of physical activity in childhood leads to various health problems that can stay for life? For example, many kids who don’t play outside and/or don’t practice any sport have a much higher risk of becoming obese. Now, you might think that is irrelevant, and you don’t care about ‘beauty norms’! You need to know that if it was about appearance we wouldn’t talk about it. The thing is that obesity can lead to permanent heart damage and related problems, diabetes, etc.
The good news is there are ways to help your children develop healthy lifestyle habits and prevent many health problems. Kids are generally curious and thrilled to try new things. So basically, the only thing you need to do is help them find activity/ sport they enjoy, get the good gear and sports shoes and the problem will be solved. Nonetheless, we understand that given that there are plenty of sports out there, it sounds easier said than done. But this is where we come in, so you don’t have to worry. We talked with child psychologists, pediatricians, and P.E. teachers to understand better what sports are good for kids, and how to help them choose and fulfill healthy lifestyle goals.
Okay, so we mentioned the downsides of sedentary life. Now let’s see some benefits of a healthy lifestyle, i.e. practicing sports for children. For one, it promotes healthy growth and development. It significantly improves bone and cardiovascular health, as well as a child’s motor skills. But it also improves cognitive skills. The funny thing is that when we watch movies, jocks are often represented as not very intelligent and lazy kids. In reality, it is not like that. Studies show active kids have an excellent memory, learning capacity and do well in their academic work. Apart from physical, physical activity has a remarkably positive impact on mental, social, and emotional development.
Even though it is undeniably essential to start a healthy lifestyle journey as early as possible, you still need to make sure that the kid is ready for practicing sports. What does it mean? On one hand, many kids can technically engage in the sport since they are three years old. On another, different things are required for different sports. Hence you have to think about whether your child has endurance and strength but also the mental and emotional capacity to engage in a sport he or she likes. Young children often can’t stay focused on what the coach is saying for half an hour or an hour, for example. That is something to consider when making supporting your kid in making healthy lifestyle choices. Another essential thing is that a pediatrician examines your child. Practicing a sport is undoubtedly healthy, and often it improves health conditions, if there are any. However, some children maybe aren’t physically ready for a specific sport. Also, some conditions limit a child’s ability to engage in a certain activity, and it is necessary to be aware of them.
The best way to find the perfect sport for a kid is to show as many sports as possible. You can watch the games on TV together, or even go to some matches if allowed. The youngster will surely be interested in some of them. When you notice that they express interest, ask them what they like about it and whether they would like to try it. You can also ask them if there is something they don’t like about it.
While exploring the options, you will notice if your kids are particularly drawn to some sports. For example, maybe they will start asking you about the next game. Or they will start commenting on players, strategies, and techniques. Our daughter, for example, began to stop and watch people playing street basketball each time we went outside. She also kept asking us about different moves, etc., so it became clear that she is truly enthusiastic about this sport. When this happens, it is a good time to propose to them to start practicing sport they like.
When children practice sports, many parents, start imagining a bright sports career for their kids. But that puts a lot of pressure on them and sometimes leads to giving up. So forget about that and instead remind yourself that it is about having a fun and healthy lifestyle. Also, explain to kids everything about the essentials of a healthy lifestyle.
So you are thrilled that your kids are drawn to healthy lifestyle activities? That is marvelous, indeed! Now before choosing the perfect sport for the child, you have to consider their body type. A short kid is likely to be happier playing soccer than basketball. Do you agree? However, if a kid is attracted by a sport that is not by their body type, encourage them to try it.
Since kids are curious, as we mentioned, they are likely to be attracted to more than one sport. It is okay; let them try whatever they like. The ability to choose between different options will contribute to a healthy lifestyle and mental health. Now, many coaches will tell you a kid should play one sport per season at least. But still, they can practice one during the winter season and another one in summer, can they?
The best thing you can do as a parent of a child discovering a sport is to teach them the basics. That is particularly useful if you are active in general as well. Your healthy habits will serve as healthy lifestyle inspiration for your kid. Plus, it will be super fun. If your kids are practicing sports that are unknown to you, it is a perfect opportunity to learn together.
Practicing sports is vital for a child’s development. But it is also fun and exciting, and kids usually love it. However, it is essential to enable them to engage in a sport of their choice and not project their wishes. By encouraging them to make their own choices and do what they enjoy, you are making sure that they will develop healthy lifestyle habits. Are your kids interested in sports? What are they practicing?
The author of the article is Thomas Nemel from Detroit. He is a passionate writer who motivated to engage other people to live a healthy and wholesome life. In his spare time, he likes to ride his motorbike, white water kayaking, reading books, and travel.