- Exercise & Fitness
Benefits of Exercise and Team-Participation Sports For Your Children
OK, so I'm starting with the obvious. Regular exercise for children will help them maintain a level of fitness and help prevent them becoming obese. Diet for children is vitally important to encourage their growth and development, but even a child on a poor diet can keep a healthy level of fitness with regular exercise. However, I and also doctors, would recommend that your child eats a diet that is as healthy as possible. A poor diet can lead to lethargy and not allow your child to exercise with the energy levels a healthy one would.
Taking part in a sporting activity, whether team-based, such as football, or individual, such as archery, can develop a child's confidence not only in sport and exercise, but also in other areas of their life. The confidence a child can gain by discovering they can perform well at certain tasks can translate in to their schoolwork for example, allowing them to push themselves to try to do better, without over-worrying about the potential of failure. A degree of confidence can be gained by the child also, when mixing with others. Sport opens a plethora of opportunities to play with or oppose, many different characters and people from different backgrounds. This type of interaction can give a child the tools they need to be confident enough to mix with others. Not only now, but vitally later in life too, when they look to make it in the 'Big Bad World'.
With the rules and regulations, different they may be, each sport has, when a child is exposed to them, they learn that if you do not perform something in the correct way, the hard work they put in is not going to be rewarded, and unnecessary behaviour can be punished, for example in bans or sanctions. This realization from the child can prompt them, even if only subconsciously, to start following set rules in their everyday lives with greater regularity. Factor in the authority figures such as coaches and referees, and a child may come to a notice that their parent's deserve respect as an authority figure also, and the rules they set should be adhered to. Another great behavioural impact exercise and sport can have on a child is that they can become so tired after partaking in an activity, that they do not have the energy to oppose their parents or guardians like they may tend to do if bored and restless with bundles of un-spent energy in their bodies.
As I mentioned earlier, socially sport and exercise can broaden a child's horizon's, giving them the opportunity to mix with a greater number of different types of people than they would normally get the chance of doing. It gives the opportunity for the shy and timid type of child to come out of their shell and gain the confidence to make friends and acquaintances, and gain knowledge of how to interact with other people.
Communication skills are vital in life in general. Should a child lack the confidence to communicate, or even the skills or knowledge to interact with another person, sport can provide all these things. In a team game the child is obliged to communicate with others, because if they don't they will not get what they want out of it, i.e. A hold of a ball, a chance to shoot for goal etc. Communication with authority figures can also develop, as they must interact effectively and respectfully in order keep their place in the team, if interacting with a coach, or even keep their place on the field, if speaking to a referee. This could help benefit a parent's communicative relationship with a child.
Should a child play a team sport, they will learn the value of working as part of a team in order to achieve a particular goal, and the consequences that can happen due to a poorly constructed team. You may not think that a child particularly needs to have great team-work skills, however this skill can be vitally important later on in life. In the cut-throat business world that our children will be entering once leaving school, a team-player is a must. No employer wants to employ a person who will not want to strive to complete tasks for the long-term good of a whole company, and only the short-term gratification of themselves individually. Don't get me wrong, individuality is great, but when starting off in the world of work, especially, team-work will be of vital importance to a child.
Whether playing an individual sport or participating in an event or game with a team, a child can flourish by being given even an ounce of responsibility. They will gain great confidence by being awarded an opportunity to take control of something themselves and give them a sense of what it is to be 'grown up'. A child can take great comfort in knowing that they can be trusted to do whatever is asked of them to the best of their ability, and can see them taking control of situations in their wider life, knowing that they are capable whatever the difficulty of the task.
Obviously, in Individual Sports, Individuality will be a main benefit for a child. The fact that they have only themselves to rely upon to achieve a goal will bring that out of a child. However Team Sports can provide this also. Within Team Sports such as Basketball and Soccer, although they are heavily reliant on team-work, an individual can shine, and put their own stamp on the game. For a child, it could mean playing in a different way, or trying a trick or two, giving themselves a sense of individuality and knowing they do not need to be robot to play the same game with everyone else.
The cognitive development that a sport can encourage in a child is staggering. Firstly, just the knowledge of whatever sport they are partaking in, i.e. The Rules, Skills etc. will boost the thought processes a child goes through, developing new connections in the brain, thus boosting cognitive performance. Secondly, every single thing that has been highlighted throughout this piece will contribute to a healthier brain for a child. All experiences during exercise or sporting activities will help the child gain a greater understanding of life in general. Things such as elation, desperation, injustices, sense of achievement etc. Later on in the life of the child, everything they will learn through sport can contribute to helping them overcome certain situations, or even make them understand why a certain outcome has arose.