With recent health studies concerning sports and health for adults and children alike, many parents might be wondering what kind of sports their child should join if any at all. Of course, all parents have an instinct to protect their children from potential injuries. So when your child wants to play a contact sport like football or rugby, or they want to start lessons for aerial gymnastics or cheerleading, you might worry for their safety.
Deciding whether or not your child should play sports can be difficult for some families. Which sports are safe? Should your child play at all?
Today, in honor of Youth Sports Week, Steamboat Emergency Center wants to encourage all parents to let their children play sports. We want to reassure your fears, talk about the reasons sports can be beneficial for your children, and in turn, how to make sure they stay safe while they do it.
Self-Confidence and Emotional Benefits
The benefits of sports are not just physical. Children involved in sports and group activities can learn valuable social skills like cooperation, teamwork, self-confidence, and perseverance. Learning to work together with others will help your child make new friends, encourage them to think of others, and even prepare them for group projects assigned in school. In addition, being taught by coaches and teammates to work hard for their goals is a life skill that will benefit your child as they grow and discover new goals in their adulthood.
Self-confidence can be one of the best benefits of playing sports. There are many discussions between psychologists about how sports can benefit a child’s self-confidence or hinder it, but there seems to be a common agreement. When parents stay plugged into their children’s lives and interests, they can instill confidence. As a parent, it is essential to make sure your child isn’t feeling pressured or stressed always to win, as that stress can detriment your child’s wellbeing. It is equally important to encourage them even when they lose. Teach them that as long as they try their hardest and are not giving up, they are winners to you. This kind of positive reinforcement can help your child develop self-confidence, along with the social skills mentioned above.
Physical Health & Wellness
Physical activity has a lot of obvious health benefits. Adults are frequently encouraged to find time for activity in their lives, whether stretched in the office or taking jogs in the morning. Children usually need less encouragement, as their growing bodies are often overflowing with energy to get out and play, but providing a structure for kids’ activity can be beneficial.
Sports can push your child to reach new goals and try harder. There is a difference between playing kickball in the cul-de-sac and scoring the winning goal during the last soccer game of the season. Practicing and training for their sport of choice can build their skills and coordination, strengthen their hearts and lungs, and increase their metabolism. These can help a growing child’s health be bolstered for adulthood. Muscles will be stronger, ligaments and tendons are more limber. There are countless health factors that sports and exercise can improve, not the least being heart and lung health.
But what about the risks? Many parents worry about their kids getting injured during games or at practice, but there are some great, easy ways to mitigate any concerns you might have about your child’s safety.
Making sure your child’s equipment is always up to standard and protecting them well is a good place to start. If you make sure your child is properly outfitted with shin guards, shoulder pads, helmets, and so on, then they will be protected from many of the risks involved in contact sports. Talking with a physician and getting regular sports physicals is also important.