From a young age, children are taught significant moral and life lessons that they should embody as they grow up. Shows, movies, books, games—everywhere—integrate these life lessons in any way they can. It’s like an unwritten rule that anything a child touches should teach them a moral lesson.
According to Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive of Little League International, “children learn about teamwork, leadership and sportsmanship, all of which can contribute to their development as solid citizens” by learning how to play sports. These are essential skills that they can apply in the future, at work, or in school.
Additionally, sports are a way to become active, and exercise is known to have a plethora of physical benefits. For example, swimming and track-and-field strengthen endurance and cardiovascular fitness, while basketball and football increase agility.
Victory and defeat
Winning and losing teaches children the importance of fair play and being a good sport. At an early age, games show them that sometimes you’re the victor, and sometimes you’re not.
On the part of the parents, this can be an opportunity to hone a child’s self-esteem and confidence. Instead of focusing on the winner and the loser, they can ask their children about the experience—if they had fun or if something extraordinary happened during the game. There might be a time in the game where the child had done well and is proud of, even though they lost. If they did win, congratulating them and showing them signs of appreciation can boost their self-esteem.
Working with other people as part of a team or practicing with other athletes gives way to better social skills for the child. Instead of being contained in a home or classroom environment, children meet more people during sports practice. This way, they can feel a sense of belongingness to a group while finding a way to interact and strategize to win the competition.
Self-discipline and focus
Sports teach children self-discipline at an early age, and this is something even adults find difficult. When children train to become the best athlete, they have routines, practice schedules, and personal records to beat. Because of these, they are motivated to stay on track and keep moving forward to become better. Part of this process is to follow the routines no matter how tiring they are and showing up on time during training.
Most of all, let kids have fun.
They’re kids. They should be enjoying their freedom and explore their interests. While sports are fantastic for their health, well-being, and achievements, children should find fun in what they do. May it be enjoying the company of their co-athletes, learning a new routine, or choosing a cute Spyder kids ski jacket for the day’s training, kids should be reminded that they should love what they do. Otherwise, it will be another task for them to check off for the day.
Sports has a great variety of benefits for children that they can carry until they grow up. Teamwork, sportsmanship, and self-discipline are all qualities that are treasured in school, in work, in relationships—in life.