By Evan Fischer
Sponsored Guest Contributor
Although kids will always gravitate towards their favorite technological devices or the gaming table, it wouldn’t hurt to get them out in the fresh air and moving their entire bodies (instead of just their thumbs or shaking dice) once in a while. Many parents have heard that video games and other technologies have the ability to teach kids both strategy and communication skills while improving hand-eye coordination. This is true, to a point. Board, card, dice, role-playing, and any type of table top games can be excellent exercise for the mind and build social skills, but does little for the body.
In the end, doing something virtually with video games or interacting with cardboard pieces on a flat surface cannot compare to the practical skills that come from real-world physical interactions and efforts. Specifically, sports. Here are just a few benefits that can be gained by enrolling your kids in a sports program at any age.
When your children work hard either on their own or as part of a team, and then they see the results of those efforts in a competitive arena, they will gain confidence in their ability to succeed, not only on the field, but in every area of life. They’ll develop the self-esteem needed to try new things and even if they fail, they will learn to pick themselves up and keep going. The value of confidence in the life of a growing child cannot be underestimated, and sports can help kids to develop a strong work ethic and believe in their own ability to accomplish whatever they set out to do.
You might think that shoving your kid out the door and telling them to “go play” with their friends will result in the same carefree days spent running around the neighborhood that you enjoyed as a child. But you have to remember that kids these days have access to all manner of easier entertainment in the home. So they might be more likely to visit a friend whose parents aren’t particular about whether the kids are out-of-doors or sitting in front of a monitor. Enrolling your kids in a sport program will ensure that they’re getting the exercise needed to stay fit and healthy. And starting them young will set them up for a lifetime of physical fitness.
3) Interpersonal Skills
While there are technologies that allow kids to communicate with peers (albeit in an abbreviated form of language that won’t do them any favors in English class), they need to learn the social skills that will prepare them for success at the collegiate level and beyond. Interacting with others as part of a team will only help them here. Not to mention, make playing with others at the gaming table exceedingly easier and less awkward.
4) Goal Setting
Too many of today’s youth are mired in a languid state of indecision that leaves them unwilling or unable to figure out what they want and how to go about getting it. If you want to stop your kids from falling into this Gen Y-Z group of under achievers that have grown up relying on the internet to tell them everything, you should definitely get them away from the computer (at least for a little while) and ensure that they gain the experience needed to figure out what they’re good at, what they enjoy, and how they can use their unique talents and skills to create a future for themselves. Understanding goals will also help your kids keep objectives clear in their mind and greatly reduce analysis paralysis at the gaming table.
As kids get older and their bodies grow and change, they may have difficulty reconciling their new proportions with the torso and limbs they’ve always known. For many teens and tweens, this is a fairly uncomfortable and embarrassing revelation. But kids who continue to push their bodies with physical endeavors (soccer drills, softball practice, dryland hockey training, and so on) may become familiar with their bodies more quickly than their idling peers, helping them to focus on developing in other areas. A healthy body begets a healthy mind, and a healthy mind at the gaming table is as nimble as any Olympic gymnast you care to name.
About the Author:
Evan Fischer is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California. He enjoys writing about the latest tech news for a variety of companies and discovering new and innovative gadgets.
Just this morning I was brain storming column ideas for this site and I thought about doing one encouraging parents to participate in sports. So it’s ironic a column with the same objective showed up in a matter of minutes.
Anyway, I totally agree with this article. Even if you think your kids aren’t good in sports, encourage them to do something. There are several ‘non-competitive’ sports programs available that provide the same benefit but without the pressure of winning.
In addition to the list above, playing in team sports helps build teamwork and and teaches kids to work with others. They learn not only to trust others on the team, but realize others on them are trusting them.
Also, sports helps establish a respect for authority whether it be for the coaches, parents or referees.
Again, great article and I’ll take that topic off my article list 🙂