Considering Sports for Your Child?

By Megan Zapalac

Is your little boy wanting to swing a bat in T-ball?  Or your daughter wanting to be on a Cheer Team?  Do you already feel like their schedules are overloaded and none of you can fit another thing on your plates?  Consider these important benefits we discovered about children involved in sports.

Sports are a large part of American culture and in many ways has shaped our country.  It is true that some unhealthy “idol” worship of sports figures has emerged, however, lay that aside as we look at sports for the ages of 4-17 and the positive experiences that are provided. 

For starters team or group sports help provide your child with a sense of structure that will last them throughout their lives.  Not only do they learn that each position on the team has an important role to play, they learn that lesson in a fun and competively way.  For most kids, learning while having fun means the lesson will be implanted into their memory and help them in other areas.

Another beautiful benefit is the blessing of making new friends. If your child struggles some with reaching out to make friends, this gives them an automatic pool of kids interested in the same activity they are interested in.  It’s the perfect opportunity to suggest after game snacks together, or weekend play dates.  Many solid relationships are built on the soccer field or tennis courts that might carry your child for years.

We have to mention the benefit of exercise.   Once your child finds a sport they love, exercising won’t seem like a chore, it will be an activity that cannot wait for.  As adults, we know that exercising can easily become a chore unless we latch on to an activity that fulfills either the competitive element, or fun element that we need.  Starting early helps to establish that routine in life.

            A little hidden benefit is the fact that engaging in sports also teaches your child how to handle confrontation among peers.  Some sports are specifically designed to play without a referee encouraging the participants to know the rules thoroughly and keep one another accountable to them.

Actually, we found that this list could go on and on, but worth noting is the fact that participation in sports is generally an excellent way to build confidence in young ones.  Helping them find a sport they love and can excel at may take a little time, but, it is so well worth it to watch them be proud of themselves when they catch a ball, make a basket, score a touchdown, or perfect a technique.

You have heard it said that “Practice makes perfect,” but truly, the very best benefit just might be that engaging in sports WITH your child might also be one of the best bonding experiences you both have.  Truthfully, bonding with our children while helping them prepare for a successful adult life is an underrated treasure.  Do not overlook the value of sports.