Beyond Physical Health: Why to Get Your Kids into Sport
Sport is a big part of many of our lives, with it being compulsory education for our children and a good pass time. In fact, over 90% of 5–16 year olds are constantly partaking in sport. And since we all know the physical benefits, it begs the question, what are the additional benefits that sport can have on my children?
From annual sports days at school which bring memories of egg and spoon races, relay races, and the traditional fruit slices and cool fruit drinks, to after-school activities and hobbies which get children moving, exercise is a large part of running down the energy within our most active children.
Nelly Edwards, brand manager at Suso, says: “The health of our children doesn’t just come from the physical aspects of their lives. In fact, it is just as important to care for their emotional and mental development as they grow.”
Here, we will explore the other benefits sport can have for your children, outside of the physical improvements.
The mental health benefits of sport
Not only can your children benefit physically from frequent movement, but their mental health can also be benefitted by exercise, similar to the benefits adults receive from physical movement. It has been discovered that children who are frequently active develop a brighter outlook on life, improving the quality of their mental health. Endorphins which are released during exercise mean that children who are more active tend to manage symptoms of depression and anxiety better.
Depending on your child’s preferences and abilities, different sports can have a significant benefit. Children who have difficulties with attention tend to do better in individual sport, however, team sport is known to be best for improving most children’s mental wellbeing.
One of your roles, as a parent, is to ensure that your children are prepared for whatever they might face when they grow up and so ensuring they are resilient is an important parenting focus. And luckily, sport can help this! In fact, sport has been identified as a key driver in childhood resilience. So placing your young ones into sport activities after school could actually be preparing them for the future in many ways.
Not only will your children develop the means to be a good sportsman in the face of loss, but they will also develop critical and flexible thinking skills to help better their decision making. Whether an opponent has the upper hand, or you need to improvise due to an injured player, team sports can improve your child’s need to problem solve.
Sport helps skills development
While resilience is a key skill that your children can learn from their team sports activities, preparing them for the world ahead, there are many other skills that they can also learn. Sport is not only a physical activity but it is also often a verbal one and so your child will learn to communicate more efficiently with a host of people, from their classmates to opposition and even a range of adults through their coaches and trainers.
You child can also develop their teamworking while on the field, co-ordination and planning, problem solving, and critical thinking. Sport can also help them become the leaders of tomorrow as they take ownership of both their actions and the plan for the team, increasing their responsibility.
These positive effects of sport don’t just impact your child during their play time, instead your child’s behaviour can improve significantly in the classroom too. Sport can teach your child to respect others, from their peers to authority as they follow rules and work alongside new people. In fact, concentration and self-discipline is said to improve due to sport – helping not only in the classroom but also at home too.
We all know that sport can bring a sense of mindfulness, but did you know that this ‘in the zone’ feeling can actually help children boost their confidence? Rather than allowing self-doubt and intrusive anxious thoughts ruin their fun, sport can distract your child with action – making them more confident in their decision making and abilities.
This in turn will help them in other areas of their life, including in school and in their social lives. Higher self-esteem means that your child won’t doubt their abilities and instead they will find it easier to approach and communicate with other children.
Whether you are hoping your child will develop better communication skills or become less anxious, sport can help. And while the physical effects of sport are well catalogued, it is important to note the other benefits that regular activity has to offer. UNICEF believe that regular play time can also enhance a child academic achievements and development. So whether you are looking for improvements in your home life or in school, you child could benefit from their weekly dose of football, basketball, or cross country.
And healthy foods and drink can also help your child during schooltime. To find out how to pack a nutritional, yet fun, lunchbox, take a look at our blog and to learn more about our product’s nutritional values, see here.