How Sports and Activities Benefit Kids Health
Extracurricular activities can be enormously effective tools for helping children obtain valuable skills that will help them in many areas of their lives.
A good work ethic, commitment, compromise, and self-empowerment are just a few of the character traits children will learn and use in their adult lives as well. Kids absorb many useful things from their families and school but certain lessons can only be learned through the experience of working with their peers.
Everyone Needs to Belong
If your child is active in something that he or she is interested in they will most likely do really well at it. This will boost their confidence, self-esteem, and drastically reduce the chances that they will need to participate in dangerous behavior just to feel included somewhere else.
Everyone needs to feel accepted. Humans are not singular creatures. If you child doesn’t feel like an important part of a positive social activity or group, they will find another group to fit in with.
There will always be negative influences waiting to attract more followers and kids who feel left out of other groups will do whatever it takes to belong somewhere. This usually means they get exposed to drugs, alcohol or criminal activity by these groups and it’s hard to resist and stand up for themselves when they fear rejection.
This can be a very dangerous reality for those kids who feel alone and disconnected.
Peer pressure is a reality while a child is in school and sometimes even after graduation. This pressure can be negative or positive, so why not make it work in their favor?
Many different Choices
There are many different types of activities kids and teens can participate in.
Some examples are:
- student government
- art classes
- dance classes
- video production
- cooking... the list goes on.
Check your local community center and school for available classes or leagues in your area.
If your child just doesn’t seem interested in joining anything on their own, sign the two of you up for something just for the experience of it. It doesn’t have to be anything either of you are really good at or even deeply interested in. A zumba or weight training class would be a fun and active way for the two of you to create some lasting memories as well as being a part of something.
Signing up to volunteer at the local food bank or community pea patch is another great way to get involved in something. The point is to seek out something that would be fun and separate from all the boring things that have to be done every day. Who knows, it may even spark an interest that leads to something else and an opportunity to mean some amazing people.
How It Helps Education
When kids are involved in activities through their school, they are often required to keep their grades at a certain level. Grades often improve for kids who belong to a team or group simply because they are learning how good it feels to accomplish things and get positive reinforcement. Achieving academically is celebrated and supported when teenagers are on a sports team or in a club.
To all of the kids who aren’t a part of a club or team, there seems to be a stigma to getting good grades. It is common for these kids to get teased for doing class work and get called a nerd for excelling.
Responsibility and Commitment
When kids are a part of a positive group they have a certain responsibility to that group. There will be times when they want to skip practice or a meeting but, they won’t because there are usually consequences. Common examples include: they can’t play in the game or participate in a certain performance if they don’t honor their obligation.
Often the other areas of their lives get more organized as well. School work, physical health, and chores are taken more seriously and get done without dispute. When their social activity is at stake, they aren’t taking any chances of getting restricted from it.
The responsibility and commitment they learn during this time will follow them into adulthood. These lessons will be evident in their work ethic and personal relationships.
Kids Physical health
Children from the ages of 6 to 19 should exercise 60 minutes per day. Fresh air and physical exertion are great for the heart and metabolism. Sports, swim team, and dance classes are great ways to get the heart beat up and the adrenaline pumping.
Even if the activity or club that your child chooses to be involved in is sedentary, it can still help their physical health. When kids are distracted with something they enjoy, they are less likely to mindlessly eat in front of the TV or computer. They will also be more likely to take better care of their brains and bodies so they can perform to the best of their ability.
Kids who feel like they belong to something and are important to others have a significantly lower percentage of depression also. Between school work and raging hormones it’s not surprising that kids sometimes feel like nothing they do matters. When they know that they are an important contributor to a team or club and people are counting on them, it gives them power to push through the occasional loneliness and despair. Another important benefit that shouldn’t be overlooked is the adrenaline rush that comes with achievement. This is a natural high that no drug can possibly compete with!
- Drinking Alcohol and Teenagers
Every year older a teenager gets, the more likely they will drink. It is unrealistic to believe that your teen will be able to avoid alcohol during Junior High and High School. It is extremely important that teenagers know the truth about this drug a
- Nutrition: Healthy Kids
Healthy eating is important for everyone but it is imperative for young growing bodies. Children’s bodies only grow once. The muscles and bones that they are creating will be the only ones they will ever get. If their bodies don’t get what they need
Social Skills For Life
Social Skills are learned behaviors that kids are exposed to as toddlers and will continue to learn through adulthood.
Social clubs and teams are a perfect place to learn compassion, empathy and patients. Learning effective conflict resolution is another benefit of working as a team. When a group of peers works closely together they are bound to have disagreements and in turn, they learn how to compromise and resolve problems. The process of working with peers toward a common goal, and then achieving that goal is a bond that can’t be duplicated.
These are all very important lessons that will serve them well in adulthood as well. The more time kids spend in a particular group, the more loyal and committed they become to the other kids.
Time Management Skills
Kids who are committed to a team or club have time constraints that they need to work within. They have to have a plan and are usually more productive than kids who have less to do. There are only so many hours in the day so they need to work smart and they usually learn this very quickly.
Between school, meetings or practice, homework, and dating, time runs out pretty quick. It is important to have a well-rounded life so in order to fit it all in, these kids learn to use their time wisely and be more productive.
Planning ahead and effectively managing time is a huge asset to any person, regardless of their age.
One of the most important gifts that children get from extracurricular activities is self-empowerment.
There is no sweeter satisfaction than that of a job well done. Whether their team finally wins a game, they got the yearbook done right under the dead line, or they finally ran the 100m dash in under 13 seconds, the feeling of accomplishment is the same. Most kids hear messages about the importance of working hard but when they experience it first hand, they will never forget how great it feels.
When kids and teens realize they actually can attain anything they are willing to work for, it’s irreplaceable.
Do You or Your Children Participate In Any Teams Or Activities?
Everything In Moderation
Social activities can provide some incredibly useful tools that young people will use for the rest of their lives. They can also create some amazing experiences and lasting memories.
That being said, it is extremely important to remember that great things are only great in moderation.
Even positive experiences can be done to excess and cause the opposite reaction. Children who are over scheduled or stressed because they are over committed, run the risk of sever rebellion and break down. I
t’s impossible to do anything well if they are spread too thin. All of the positive benefits and intentions of extracurricular activities will be lost if there is too much pressure to perform or too many activities going on simultaneously.