Practicing a sport is usually associated with a long list of benefits for children. From a physical point of view, sport helps the child have a healthy and harmonious growth. Still the biggest advantages of organized sports are the progresses that he achieves are psychological and social.
In most cases it is very good for children to practice sports. Although if they have other inclinations, they should not be ignored. The most important thing you must remember is that sport does not have to be a burden, but a big pleasure. He learns to lose, he is satisfied when he wins… it is like an “initiation journey” towards discovering himself. Experimenting is essential a child can practice a large variety of sports before discovering his ore her talent. The coach must be an opened person and he must not inhibit the child but stimulate his self confidence. In conclusion sport has to be an attractive activity because the most important thing for him is play. The child has to be supported throughout his progress. A win must be rewarded and in case of a failure he must be aided in cultivating a wining attitude. Attention: an over competitive spirit can make him vulnerable, and in case of a los he can be completely demoralized.
In conclusion, aided by a single activity, the child learns to interact with people around him, manage under pressure, follow instructions and critics and accept failure. Sport helps him acquire certain character traits (discipline, fairness, punctuality, respect, responsibility, commitment) like an adult. Studies show that sports activities improve study performances, fitness and self esteem.
Before you sign up your child in a sports club and before he chooses a sport ask yourself some questions that will help you clear up some things:
Is my child interested in sports?
The first question you have to ask yourself would be if your “baby” is interested in sports, if he has weight problems and if he has health problems. If he is not interested in sports when you decide, it is ok. A healthy lifestyle does not necessarily include organized exercising. He can play with friends, maybe he likes bicycles or likes sporting activities at his school. Remember the cases in which parents force their children to practice sports for some completely groundless reasons like fulfilling their own ambitions…
Does my child have time to practice sports?
Watch out for your child’s program. The ones that are already taking piano lessons, private lessons or are in extracurricular activities can get stressed when you add sports to their program.
What are the characteristics of a sport?
Every sport is different, and when you choose, take into consideration factors that create compatibility with your child’s personality:
• If you want to develop your child’s individual skills (cycling, swimming, tennis);
• If you want to develop your child’s team work skills (football, volleyball, dance);
• If you can afford the costs that are implied by a certain sport;
• If the boy or girl is willing to make certain sacrifices(diets, training camps, daily trainings).
How can you help your child choose the sport that is best suited for him?
Once the child shows an interest in a certain sports activity you have to think of the sport that is the most suited for him both physically and psychologically. Children of the same age differ when it comes to the degree of physical and psychological development. For example if your daughter is shorter than her colleagues she would have an advantage in sports like athletics, swimming or gymnastics. Also, notice the degree of independence of your child. Is he independent and suborned or does he embrace the team? Is he a dreamer, solitary or dependent on his friends? Does he like water, moving in nature or indoor activities? Does he get bored quickly?
To answer these questions, let him experiment and practice more sports, and this research work can extend on a period of months. Keep reminding yourself that this is a very important decision for the child and you need to be as patient as you can be.
Were should my child practice sport?
Sports clubs are the ideal environment to practice a sport, from athleticism to karate and horseback riding, but if their location does not favor you, you can always go to a private or a children’s club. As long as the distance is not a problem for your child, everything is all right.
How should the coach be?
With the help of a good coach/professor, your child could fall in love with that sport, or on the contrary, he could hate it. That is why you have to observe the coach’s character. He must be experienced with children, he must be patient and demanding at the right time. A coach that is too rough can crush your child’s enthusiasm for sports.
How should I react if he wants to quit?
Your child’s interest for sports can vary from excitement to discouragement. He can come to you one day and say: “I’m sick of this. It is not fun at all”. If he suddenly wants to quit find out what is it all about. Ask yourself which is the reason for this decision: the training is to harsh, colleagues, the pressure of a team or an unfit coach? Do not try to push it and make him go back. Make peace with the idea or try to suggest another physical activity or at least a more creative one.