When the time comes for you to start thinking about enrolling your kids into a sports class, you can easily find yourself challenged by numerous obstacles during your decision-making process. When is the right time for your child to take up a sport? Are they too old or too young? Which sport should they try first? Can it negatively affect their physical and mental development and what are the benefits of each option? These are just some of the questions a devoted parent needs to answer.
Here to help you reach the best possible decision your child will love, one that will set the stage for a lifetime of health, positivity, and vibrancy, are the essential tips on how to know which sport is perfect for your bundle of joy.
Physical exercise is crucial for development
First things first, if you haven’t been aware of the positive effects physical exercise can have on the overall health of your child, now is the time to do your research. If you allow your kid to grow up leading a sedentary lifestyle, you will inadvertently set the stage for numerous health conditions in the future.
Remember, kids who spend their youth in front of the TV grow up to be sedentary adults, more often than not having to deal with obesity, joint pain, muscle spasms, and their accompanying health conditions. Simply instilling a healthy habit such as taking up a sport and being generally active can deter such a future.
Not all sports are created equal
That being said, there is a time for everything in life, including different sports. Regular walks or playing with the dog might have been enough for a toddler, but once your child reaches school age, they will be ready for new, tougher challenges.
One of the benefits that almost all sports have in common is that they build mental fortitude, and thus help instil positive values and traits into their young developing minds. On the other hand, not all sports were created equal in terms of their physical benefits.
While you should grant your child their wishes, you should also nudge them in the right direction, avoiding high-risk sports at a young age such as soccer or junior rugby, and stick to options that will develop their motor skills and their muscular and skeletal systems in a healthy way.
This can be anything from swimming, gymnastics, to training at the gym with light weights. In fact, enrolling your child in a kids’ gym class might be one of the healthiest decisions you can make, as the controlled movements coupled with bodyweight exercises under the guidance of a strengths coach is the perfect way for your child to build a foundation of strength and health.
Ensure their safety
Children are adventurous, in search of individuality, of challenge, and of the numerous awards that might await them. This is definitely a positive trait; however, it can lead to unforeseen circumstances if left to flourish without adequate protection, guidance, and constant supervision.
That is why you need to ensure your child is safe at all times by getting them all the necessary equipment such as elbow and knee pads, sturdy gym shoes for traction and balance, helmets and gloves and even groin guards if your child decides martial arts is the way to go. Remember, safety first.
The selected coach will be able to give you all of the information about adequate gear well in advance of the first class, but do remember that going the extra mile and doing your own research can?t hurt either.
Monitor and improve
Finally, children are restless creatures and rarely do they stick to achieving a single goal for a long time, rather they experience the way something works, and they quickly move on to the next challenge. This is not inherently bad, as all children should be encouraged to try as many things as possible while they’re young in order to find their place under the stars.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t monitor and guide them along the way. You want to be an important factor in their journey, someone who will encourage them along the way and teach them the value of sticking it out when the going gets tough. This way, your child will easily learn how to thrive from adversity, a trait that will prove to be invaluable in later life.
Physical activity is of the utmost importance for a developing body and a developing mind. By following these essential tips, you will be able to make the best possible decision for the future of your child, and pave the road to a lifetime of strength, health, and happiness.
Samantha Olivier is a mother of two and a fitness blogger running a small health/fitness site called Ripped.me. She has a B.Sc. in nutrition, and has spent two years working as a personal trainer. Since then, she has embarked on a mission to conquer the blogosphere. When not in the gym or on the track, you can find her on Twitter, or in a tea shop.