There’s much debate on when and how to push children now so that they can have productive futures later. Indeed, we wonder just how much is too much? When it comes to sports, the horror stories of overbearing parents who strong-arm their kids into athletic endeavors in the hopes that they become the next LeBron James or Pelé or Simone Biles can scare a lot of would-be encouragers into choosing to do nothing. But it can also spur some, believing their babies capable of surpassing even the most legendary of athletic wonders, to follow suit. Of course, parents must do neither. Instead, they must encourage participation in activities, especially physical ones, but they must not demand excellence. Take a look a four reasons why you should push your child to play a sport:
It’s Necessary for a Healthy Lifestyle
Being physically active is like eating well and getting enough sleep; it’s a necessary component of healthy living. You don’t allow your child to pass on their vegetables or stay up all night, and you shouldn’t leave it up to them to avoid routine exercise, either. Playing a sport will lay a healthy foundation for your child, both physically and mentally. You shouldn’t pick a particular sport for your child, but you should demand that he or she do something!
It Encourages Stamina
In addition to physically conditioning your child, a sport will cultivate discipline and grit in him or her. Teammates depend on one another to win. Because of this, your child will learn invaluable lessons about cooperation, dedication and hard work. They will be less likely to shirk their responsibilities in their effort to prove their worth to the group.
It Makes Kids Happier
In depth interviews, as well as surveys and questionnaires, show that people who start playing a sport early in their lives are happier than those who don’t. This large body of research seems to prove that children who play sports have better body images, higher confidence levels and improved perceptions of their own mental health. In short, they are more satisfied overall with their lives and happier than children who choose not to participate in some sort of team activity.
It’s Better Than the Alternative
Between homework and practices/games, kids who play sports will have less unstructured time and will be less likely to get into trouble than those who do nothing after school. Belonging in a group, mastering a skill and being accountable to others means your child will feel less pressure to fit in with peers in other ways (via drugs, sex, rebellion, etc.) Doing nothing shouldn’t be an option for able-bodied children; as shown, they will be less healthy, less happy and less driven. Thus, doesn’t it make sense that helping your child find the perfect sport is not only your duty, but their right?