Physical activity is a very important part of a child’s development. Most children are full of energy. Exposing them to fun physical activities like various sports will be beneficial. Sports can help improve their overall physical health. It can also help them develop their cognitive and social skills. In this article, we will tackle some ways parents or guardians can help pick a sport for a child.
How to choose a sport for your child? Choosing a sport for your child is a significant task for parents or guardians. When introducing sports to children for the first time, you should focus on which one is suitable – not the best. It takes much time and patience. Trial-and-error is a part of the process of exposing a child to sports. It also depends on the child’s physical condition and their preference or interests.
When it comes to selecting a sport, there are many things both you and your child should consider. Below are some details you should remember to help discover the right sport for your child.
Benefits of sports for your child
Sports are very beneficial in developing your child’s physical, mental, and social skills. It also improves your child’s lifestyle by making it more active and healthy. More importantly, children should enjoy and have fun when trying out sports.
- Develop muscles and bones
- Improve motor skills
- Better balance and coordination
- Cardiovascular health
- Overall physical fitness
Sports do not only involve physical skills. Mindfulness and other mental abilities are also required. This signifies that physical activities do not only boost the child’s physical health, it also sharpens cognitive skills.
Studies found that children who play sports process instructions better. This is because sports commonly teach discipline through instructions. Also, students who take part in sports have better academic performance. Chess, volleyball, and other sports train children to think and plan fast. Children can apply and practice a similar thing to improve their studies.
Aside from physical and mental benefits of sports, it also teaches children values and social skills.
Steps to help your child choose a sport
As a parent or guardian, you might feel hyped for this momentous moment of your child’s life. As adults, we are aware of some excellent sports out there. It is helpful to make a list – whether based on personal experience or research.
But, before consulting your list of popular sports, there are some fundamental requirements you should do. As a parent, to examine which sport is suitable for your child by checking their:
Some sports are suitable for certain age groups. Physically complex and competitive sports are not for younger children. They are still developing physically and mentally. Thus making them prone to accidents or injuries.
2) Physical (activity level) and emotional maturity
The child’s physical attributes might be a valuable hint on which sport is better. Their height, energy level, flexibility, agility, strength, etc. matters. Like their age, some sports are better partnered depending on the child’s physique.
The same goes for the child’s emotional maturity. Some sports need cooperation, teamwork, and a good attitude.
3) Doctor’s approval
A physical exam will be beneficial for your child. A consultation with a pediatric doctor will determine the child’s general health. Some medical conditions – which may be common for some children – like asthma might become an issue when joining sports.
The doctor is skilled enough to rule out some sports that he or she may deem unsuitable to your child’s health.
4) Child’s interests
Some children will prefer trying out a specific sport. Maybe they have been following videos of specific sports. Are their friends into a sport and is your child also showing the same interest? Look out for signs of enthusiasm. Your child might have already gravitated or set his/her mind on some sports.
Meanwhile, others might already have a preference whether to be in a team or play as an individual. Deciding whether a child wants to be in a team or not is important. Some children are introverted. They might also prefer to work as an individual rather than being in a team. As parents or guardians, you must think of it as their preference depending on their comfort zone.
5) Child’s and family’s schedule
Children, especially students, should pick a sport that suits their schedule. Like any other activity, sports should not take more than five to six hours of your child’s time. Even though it has benefits, it should be done moderately.
Some sports need more sophisticated and costly equipment and lessons. Consider enrolling your child in a sport that is enough for your budget.
The things mentioned above are some basic things you should look out for. Listed below are additional conditions that you should consider.
7) Explore various sports
Don’t stick to a single sport. While they’re still young, expose them to as many sports as they like. This will improve their opinion and preferences. Do not be surprised or upset if your child would want to change sports. Choosing a sport, after all, is a trial and error process.
8) Meet the coaches and instructors
The coaches and instructors carry out a crucial role. Consulting with them will offer you an insight if your child is an exact fit for the sport you chose.
9) Importance of sportsmanship
Encourage your child to be familiar and comfortable with the concept of sportsmanship. This will allow them to mature and enjoy sports better.
10) Promote discipline
A specific time should be allotted for practice. Discipline them by grounding them more about balancing their schedule.
Tips on to get your child interested in sports
Do it together
Your child’s first experience in sports is better spent with you and the rest of the family. This will help the child to have fun while experiencing an active and athletic lifestyle.
It can be as simple as teaching your child to ride a bike. It can also be a ball game in courts. Run around with them in the park. The important thing is they are enjoying the activities.
Other benefits of participating in sports with them include:
- Quality time with family.
- Encourage friendly competition.
- Strengthen family bonding.
Be their #1 fan
As much as possible, refrain from giving harsh comments. Instead of absorbing it as constructive criticism, children might take it personally. Be supportive and always cheer for them. Be their number one fan!
Children may get excited and be into sports. Yet some might still have limited attention span. Help them have balance with their free time, studies, and sports. You can do this by sitting down together and talking about their schedule. Plan when they will play sports and give them reasonable time for it.
This is also helpful for very active children with their sports. Even though it is good for them, you should enlighten them about moderation. It is delightful to witness them become passionate and serious in pursuing sports. But, they still need rest and time for other things in life.
Planning with them will support them later in life as they prepare to have work-life balance.
Ask your child questions
- What did you do during your practice?
- Did you learn something new?
- What do you like about the activities you do?
- How are your teammates and coach?
- What do you do in your team?
Make sure your child is having fun
The most important thing about introducing sports to children is they are having fun. Always make sure your child is having fun. It signifies that the effort, time, and support that you and your family put into it has been worth it. They can gain the benefits of sports if they are equally enjoying it.
Some sports your child can try
- Martial arts
What should I do if my child is not motivated to do sports? When it comes to supporting your child with sports, the critical thing to do is to be very patient. If your child is not interested or motivated to do sports, hear them out. Inquire to them the reason why. Don’t pressure them to do sports.
Where else can I get help when choosing a sport for my child? Pediatricians and/or pediatric physical therapists can provide you an insight on which sport is suitable for your child. Sports associations or organizations periodically have children’s summer programs. You can also try asking your child’s peers. Try knowing what kind of sports other children are into. Some children get more interested in sports when they play with other people who are of the same age.