Did you know that even the most academic or technologically passionate child could gain important benefits from putting their books and gadgets aside, to get involved in sport?
That’s because sports activities in schools or their local community are not just about physical health and fitness. They provide child development advantages, and your child’s classroom performance may improve thanks to their sports hobbies.
This article explores the connection between sports and child development in more detail.
Learning transferrable lifelong abilities
Let’s start with the most obvious benefit from exposure to sports fun and competition at an early age. Though they may never kick or hit a ball again in their entire life – or participate in any type of sport in the future – your child will gain vital skills they will certainly use in their adult years
That’s because sports provide the ideal opportunity to develop abilities such as spatial awareness, anticipation, balance, coordination and problem solving.
Children can also learn to be future leaders, encouraging and supporting their team mates, and planning strategies.
Pride comes from personal and team achievements
Not all children leave sporting pursuits behind them as they grow. Many keep their passion for a particular sport for many years and use it to keep fit as they get older.
They also continue to enjoy the sense of ‘belonging’ and community, that local sports clubs provide.
After all, for centuries adults have loved the camaraderie and challenge of sports participation; and the pride you can get from achievements that can be both personal and as a team.
There really is nothing quite like beating your PB (personal best) or joining your team in celebrating a success, whether you are a child or an adult. That sense of self-worth is an important part of human development.
Social skills and sport
Children’s sport in schools and communities also creates and underpins social skills.
The friendships made at a local sports club or Holiday Camp can last a long time. Your child will be interacting with other children from your local area, so they can extend their newfound social connections off the field of play too.
Stress relief for children
Anxiety is a big issue in children these days – no doubt impacted by social media and pressure to be ‘the best’ and most popular.
Of course, you could argue that being part of competitive sporting activities is another form of pressure. However, two things balance that out in a compelling way. One is that children running around and engaged in sport are exercising in a way that releases endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, the feel-good hormones that tackle stress and lift mood.
Also, not all local sports activities put the emphasis on competitive success!
This is undoubtedly one of the most important ways sports affect child development; as long as your child benefits from an inclusive and nurturing provider of local sports sessions!
They get chances to learn to regulate their own emotional responses; including becoming a gracious loser and a respectful winner. Children should also be encouraged to support their own teammates when they struggle, rather than expressing dissatisfaction with someone else’s performance.
Sports can also help children to learn resilience, and how to cope when things don’t go according to plan.
Any child with ambitions to advance in their chosen sport will also develop their understanding of the value of hard work, commitment and perseverance.
What advantages do The Little Foxes provide?
The above point alone is enough to illustrate why sporty kids often do well in their studies too. They may be more relaxed and ready to learn too, as they have blown off steam doing sports.
As a leader in the provision of grassroots sports for children – in schools and communities – The Little Foxes Club focuses a lot on the child development link.
One of the ways we tick all the above boxes, is to ensure all sessions are inclusive, nurturing and about friendship and fun. This can help every child feel like they have a role to play – regardless of their ability levels.
It also ensures our children learn to be respectful to each other, communicate well, and have confidence in themselves, their coaches and each other. Every child feels like a winner.
Hopefully, it’s now clear that sports activities contribute a great deal to child development. The next question may be, how do you get a child who is reluctant to do sports to join in?
It is something we partly answer in our article on 5 fun ways to get children active – without resistance!
Browse our local sports sessions for children, to see how you can actively support your child’s development.