From the Center 2-1-17

Published 11:25 am Friday, February 3, 2017

As we are coming to the close of basketball season, I thought it might be a good idea to discuss kids and sports.

The Center for Disease Control reports that regular physical activity provides a long list of physical benefits for children. Daily exercise also promotes mental and emotional well-being, as well as boosts confidence and self-esteem. There are many other positive attributes for children playing on sports teams as well.

Playing on sports teams has been observed to build better peer relationships. Kids want to fit in, but it’s not always easy. Team sports such as baseball, basketball and football require participants to work together for a common goal. This means working together even when you are in a disagreement, which is a valuable lesson that quite possibly will carry over into the workplace as an adult.

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Participating in sports provides more restraint in avoiding risky behaviors by engaging in productive behaviors. Bored or disengaged children sometimes have a way of getting into trouble. A student is less likely to misbehave in class or break the law if it means getting kicked off the team of a sport they love.

Sports also cultivates a positive attitude. This one is a little tricky in my opinion. While teenagers know deep down they must have a positive attitude, it is sometimes difficult to do so. Maybe Susie had a fuss with one of her teammates in the cafeteria earlier that day, or maybe someone on the opposing team is causing frustration. The fact that they know they need a positive attitude is the first step.

Most of the trips home from my girls’ sporting events are filled with the game’s frustrations or mistakes. Talking them out provides a much needed release and self-examination. Knowing they have practice or a game the next day, teaches them coping skills, how to work through trials and put their own feelings aside for the betterment of the team.

One of the most rewarding aspects of kids being in sports is that it provides greater family attachment and frequent interactions with me as a parent.

The girls are more-or-less “trapped” in the car with me, providing quality time for discussions that might not take place if we were scattered at home with phones or homework.

Most children see the sacrifice parents make to shuffle their schedules to drive them to practice or be in the stands during a game. That provides a greater appreciation for the parents and makes the child/parent relationship stronger and more enjoyable.

If it is too late to participate in group sports, a walk around the neighborhood in the afternoon or a game of HORSE in the backyard would be a great way to bond with your child and provide a break from schoolwork before supper.

No matter what the circumstance,  sports and exercise are very beneficial to children and teens and is a worthwhile endeavor for the parents.