Sports’ Positive Impact on Children


While adults ring in the New Year on January 1, most students mark the passage of time with the start of a new school year. Each new school year offers an opportunity for kids to try new things – including a new sport. As the air becomes cooler, it is natural for kids to want to be outside, and team or individual sports are a structured and disciplined way to keep children active.

Researchers agree that there are tremendous benefits to children who participate in sports, from social relationships and physical challenges to honest competition. There is even evidence that sports can increase a child’s self-esteem and academic performance while decreasing the likelihood of disease and drug use.

Even if your child does not excel at his or her sport, they can still experience the above-mentioned benefits. Research also shows that kids that play sports – especially girls – are more likely to have a positive body image and are less likely to be overweight. Kids involved in sports are less likely to take drugs or smoke because they realize the impact these destructive activities can have on their performance.

Sports are undoubtedly helpful to kids’ physical well-being, but many experts agree that sports can positively impact kids mentally as well. In addition to helping kids develop discipline and set goals, sports also foster teamwork and leadership skills. Playing sports teaches kids the important skill of dealing with disappointment and to have a good attitude whether they win or lose.

A few fall sports to consider for your child include:

  • Tackle or Flag Football
  • Soccer
  • Ice or Field Hockey
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Cross Country
  • Swimming

And while it is the child actually playing the sport, many studies support the idea that there is a direct link between positive, supportive parental involvement and a child’s level of enjoyment and success in the sport he or she is playing. However, parents can have a negative influence on their child’s involvement in sports if they put excessive pressure on their child to win or to perform up to a parent’s expectations.

What’s the best advice you can give your child when they undertake any sport or activity? Have fun!

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