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Getting Your Child into Sports

Updated on August 10, 2015

Why Are Sports Beneficial to Children?

Considering how childhood obesity is at an all time high, physical activity is something all children should be involved in. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. They also go on to say that healthy lifestyle changes such as healthier eating habits and physical activity can help. Furthermore, the CDC acknowledges that school plays a critical role in nurturing such an environment especially for kids that don't have that at home. However, most public schools barely have gym class or recess with physical activity being of least importance to where tax money goes. This is why as a parent it is important to encourage some type of activity in your child's life. The best way to keep them interested is through sports involvement, usually outside of school.

Sports maybe something that many parents participated in when they grew up. It is rare for most parents not to want their children to do the same. There are more pros than cons to consider in some sports more than others. Moreover, it is safe to say that sports enhance a child's overall well being. Therefore, the question is, "How do you get your child interested and involved in sports?".

Here are some factors to consider when helping your child decide whether to be in sports and how sports are beneficial to them:

Psychological Development- Less anxiety, depression, and risky behavior. Sports also contribute to higher self esteem. Exercise is known to reduce stress.

Social Development- Sports help children form healthy relationships with peers. Sports also help children develop team building and leadership skills. Children in sports have an understanding of rules and authority.

Academic Development- Sports help with children getting better grades usually during the semester they are playing in sports. Children learn time management skills that also help with their homework and classwork. Furthermore, there are decades of studies that show that children who play sports are more likely to graduate high school and college in both lower and middle income families.

Physical Development- Childhood obesity is reduced when children participate in sports. Supports focus, and reflexes. Builds healthy bones and muscles.

My son Ari ready for his first Jr. Lakers game at the YMCA.
My son Ari ready for his first Jr. Lakers game at the YMCA. | Source

What to Consider When Choosing a Sport

Children must show interest in a sport and should never be forced into it. They also should be developmentally ready as well. When your child expresses that they want to play a sport really listen their likes and dislikes. You must take into account their personality and if they are good in group situations. For example, some children gravitate toward team sports such as: soccer, basketball, football, baseball. Other kids like running track or the swim team. Some skills take a while to develop, while in some sports they are learned as they play.

Schedule is an important reason for choosing or not choosing a sport. Does it clash with your schedule as a parent? Does it interfere with your child's homework? These are valid questions to consider when picking a sport. It is also important for parents and their children to have down-time. Rest and relaxation helps you become a better parent. This also helps children become better students and athletes as well.

Sometimes it takes a while for a child to find a sport that they like and stick with. Don't get frustrated and most of all don't let your child feel inadequate. You must praise and encourage them no matter what. Once they find a sport they like they will want to put the time and effort into it a hundred percent. The thing to keep in mind is that healthy competition is good, but pressure to be the best all the time is not. As long as your child is having fun and is showing progress over time you know that it is the right sport for them.

What Sport is Your Child Involved in?

What sport did your child choose and why?

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Where to Go Other Than School for Sports

With most public elementary schools cutting back on gym class or recess, it is important to get your child into sports outside of school. There are many organizations to contact in order to enroll them into various sports. You can find organizations that are low cost and free as well. Here are a couple reputable organizations that you can find on the internet:

YMCA- One of the oldest organizations in America for sports for the whole family. Their website is:

PAL (Police Activities League)- Organized by police departments in each city, their mission is to prevent juvenile crime and violence and forming a bond between police officers and kids. This is a very affordable option and in some cases all costs are free. Their website is:

Also, many local parks organize sports teams all year round depending on each city and what type of weather they may have.

The most important things to keep in mind are that you child's health is well and whether their activity in a sport will help them feel confident and happy. Prior to any physical activity have your child go to the doctor for a check up to make sure that they are able to participate in any sport they choose. Always check with a doctor first.

© 2014 Panorea White


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