Remember when you were at school and the thought of getting changed for PE filled you with a sense of dread and despair? Those hideous plimsolls and tiny shorts didn’t help hide the fact that you hated every moment of sport and now you think to yourself, ‘why would I ever want to push my child to endure the same thing’?
But sport is crucial for a child’s development. It offers a plethora of benefits and if introduced at a young enough age will prevent kids from trying to get a sick note on PE days. However, it’s worth noting that even if kids don’t like PE they aren’t going to get off lightly, as schools expect a sick note to come from a doctor before they will allow them to sit out.
Children should be taught to play sports from a young age, when they can pick up a ball and learn how to bounce or roll it. Even when you first start looking around nurseries it’s a good idea to check the nursery resources and ensure the emphasis is put on outside play, as well as picking up sport based toys for them to play with at home.
Tennis rackets with soft balls, hula hoops and skipping ropes are all great for kids learning to love sports and can help build up healthy competition between siblings at home – although this can quickly escalate into squabbles so watch out.
Sport also encourages team playing as kids must learn to get along when playing in a group, a crucial life skill that should be developed from an early age and which can be carried through into later life.
Another way sport is crucial for a child’s development is that it teaches them to work under pressure, something that will be much needed as they grow up – they’re down a certain amount of points and need to push on to win the game. A child who has been introduced to sport at a young age won’t flounder under the pressure but make it to the end and perhaps even help instigate a comeback.
Sport also helps children with their confidence, as well as how to come back from disappointment and how to push themselves to achieve a personal best. It doesn’t matter whether they play in a team or on their own kicking a ball around in the garden, the more they play the more confident they become and this confidence can bleed through into their everyday life and interactions.
Finally, sport is crucial for a child’s development because it encourages a healthy lifestyle. Obesity is a real issue now in the UK in children but by instilling the concept that sport is fun from an early age (as well as implementing a healthy diet) you can steer your kids away from this. Since the 1980s children are now three times more likely to become overweight by the age of 10, a staggering statistic when considering that back in 1940 the likelihood of someone gaining a significant amount of weight occurred around the age of 41.
Sport is crucial to a child’s development, for both mental and physical wellbeing, so encourage your kids to pick up that ball, try out that running club and play with others to ensure their development is positive and successful.