Some of us have super active young athletes who adore various healthy lifestyle activities and can’t wait to go outdoors, play games, and do sports. Others have children who are just testing the waters, don’t know whether they love sports yet, and may need some help to establish healthy lifestyle habits.
However, regardless of temperament, it’s vital to stay active and do sports for everybody. And we, as caring parents, want our kids to be fit, strong, and healthy. We encourage them to play outside more, enroll them in the sports sections and provide a healthy diet for them. But is it enough? No, if we’re just making them do all that stuff! What we really should do is to teach our kids to love sports and provide them with the motivation for a healthy lifestyle.
Unfortunately, it can be quite challenging to ignite our children’s passion for sports, especially when they have so many technological distractions at their fingertips.
Here, we’re sharing well-tried tips on how to up your kids’ sports participation, help them make the right healthy lifestyle choices, and make physical activity a significant part of your family life.
Reasons Why Kids Should Take Up Sports
There are numerous benefits of a healthy lifestyle for everybody, and participation in sports is a must, especially for kids. Consistent exercise and play are crucial elements of life experience in childhood, they give kids the opportunity to learn different useful skills, go on a journey of self-discovery, learn to express themselves, and grow into adulthood with an authentic set of qualities and values. Besides, a healthy lifestyle helps prevent various diseases.
Here are the benefits of sports on physical health, and how it helps in developing kids’ personalities and positive forms of behavior.
Weight and body composition – kids who engage in sports and use the best sports equipment have less body fat and more muscles; it reduces the risk of being overweight.
Strengthening bones – doing exercise has a positive impact on bone health, it improves bone mineral density.
Improving heart health – regular physical activity also means a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Building a healthy and active adult – physically active and healthy kids typically grow up to be physically active and healthy adults. Sports and healthy eating can prevent diseases like obesity, heart problems, and osteoporosis. All in all, a healthy lifestyle is a key to live longer.
Promoting friendship and companionship – participating in sports give kids a new social circle, a good opportunity to make new friends. Their communication and interactions become much richer. Being involved in sport teaches how to work in a team – kids win together, lose and deal with defeat together, they compete among themselves, finally, a kid learns to put oneself in second place for the benefit of the entire team. It all gives kids a sense of belonging and togetherness.
Learning discipline – there are always some specific rules on any sports field, and following them requires discipline. Moreover, being disciplined, obeying the rules and orders of the coaches are necessary elements of succeeding. Children also learn to accept constructive criticism which is an important ingredient for nurturing social skills.
Learning to accept and cope with defeat – learning how to lose is an essential lesson in life. Participating in sports help kids realize that losing is nothing to be ashamed of. They learn to understand and control their emotions and build resilience.
Developing adequate self-esteem – when kids hear words of praise from the coach or get high-fives from teammates it helps build trust in their own abilities and develop a feeling of confidence.
Nurturing patience, dedication, and persistence – children learn to work hard, concentrate on their goals, and be patient. They build persistence and realize that hard work pays off. All of this translates into education and life in general.
Providing positive emotional experience – regular physical activity provides kids with more energy and a lasting feeling of wellbeing. Healthy lifestyle and mental health are inextricably linked, sports help prevent depression and protects against risky behavior prevalent in teens, such as smoking or use of illegal substances.
How To Teach Kids To Love Sports
As we mentioned above, sports is one of the essentials of a healthy lifestyle. So, we have to motivate and inspire our kids to do as much exercise as possible. Here are effective tips on how you can do this.
- Get To Know Your Kid
Everyone is different and everyone gets different things out of doing sports. While some kids enjoy solo activities like gymnastics or
expressive sports like dance, other kids love competitive team sports like hockey or football.
Do you find your child waiting at the door in his/her gear, eager to leave before you take him/her to sports class? Then you are on the right track and healthy lifestyle lessons will be learned.
But if it’s a real challenge to get the kid out of the house, it means that this sport won’t motivate him/her long term. You should look for another activity for him/her.
- Set A Good Example
Children are like sponges and absorb everything by watching their parents. For instance, if you drive like a maniac, the chances are high that your kid will emulate your behavior later on. Therefore, if you are lazing on the sofa in front of the TV all day long then your child will have little reason to believe that a healthy lifestyle and sports are truly important.
You, as a parent, must set a good example and provide the value of exercising by doing them yourself.
You may not be a fitness fan, but for the good of your kid, start healthy lifestyle changes. Your kid and you will both benefit from it!
- Stay Encouraging But Don’t Pressure
Healthy lifestyle inspiration is important, it means that sports and other healthy habits need to be enjoyable, then they’ll become permanent. So, stay positive about sports, don’t push, and don’t let the disappointment show. Always emphasize the fun and social aspects of physical activity. Do not pressure your child into being sporty, or it may leave a lasting negative impression on him/her.
Furthermore, a packed sports schedule can lead a kid to reject sports altogether. If the first experience becomes a chore, the chances are high that a child will avoid sport in the future. Physical activities shouldn’t add stress to life, but rather be a place for relieving it.
And remember that even if your young athlete adores sports, he/she still needs rest days to give muscles time to recover and develop.
- Do Not Put Emphasis On Winning Or Ranking
Sometimes when parents notice talent in kids, they begin to daydream about the kid’s future success, college scholarships, and stuff like that. Then they push their child to the brink of burnout with travel teams and private coaches. Lots of people forget their initial healthy lifestyle goals and why they wanted their kid to do sports – for emotional, social, and physical development.
So, see the big picture, not just a score! Otherwise, the kid will fear letting you down and may get stressed out a lot. Always try to show interest in his/her overall experience and give positive comments.
- Introduce Technologies
The majority of parents try to wean their kids off the technology, however, some apps and interactive sports toys can work wonders for keeping kids fit and healthy. Why not make healthy lifestyle lessons super fun?
Moreover, during the lockdown measures, you can do a family workout using videos on YouTube. A child-friendly workout is not only a good way to stay fit but also a great do-together family activity.
- Watch Sports Together
Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the usual routines are disrupted, kids can’t attend after-school activities and sports clubs. But it doesn’t mean they need to disengage from sports completely.
In fact, watching sports with a family is as fun and exhilarating as actually playing it. You should nurture a kid’s passion for particular sports. Watch games with him/her, buy children’s illustrated sports magazines, sports clothes in the same colors as his/her favorite team or players, etc. Take any pressure off, just softly inspire and encourage.
- Do Not Become A Slave To Sports
Even if you and your kid are true fitness fans, do not let a child’s busy sports schedule rule your life. After all, sports is more about having fun and staying healthy rather than winning. So make sure to leave time and room for other interesting things in your family’s life.
Encouraging kids to do sports is a great way to make sure they build healthy habits and an overall healthy lifestyle. So, it’s well worth putting in time and effort. We hope our tips and ideas will be helpful and your kid’s healthy lifestyle journey will be enjoyable!
Author’s Bio: Thomas Nemel is a passionate writer, fitness lover, and car enthusiast. He fell in love with sports when he was 8 years old. It was the first time he went to a baseball match with his father. His goal is to engage other people to be the best versions of yourself.