Benefits of sports: What's your child playing?
Did you know that watching sports with your preteens can positively impact their physical, cognitive and affective domains? Our experts tell you how!
All forms of physical activity and sports have the ability to impact psychomotor (physical), cognitive (thinking) and affective (feelings and emotions) domains in human beings. “This is why physical activity perhaps is considered to be one of the most powerful tools to help adolescents develop the body and mind,” says Parminder Gill, co-founder, EduSports, Bengaluru.
Consequently, any form of activity should form a critical part of the growth and development of pre-teens. “For instance, physical activity could be specialized or high-skill based sport such as football, basketball, swimming, martial arts or yoga," says Gill.
Further adding to it, he says, "Alternatively, any unstructured or low-skill based activity such as running, walking, trekking, cycling or ‘playing’ with friends should form a critical part of the growth and development of adolescents or pre-teen. This is the age when they are developing their muscles, bones and an overall sense of self."
Divya Jain, sport and counselling psychologist, Fortis Healthcare, Delhi, adds that various sports have their own mind body benefits. “For instance, racket sports can help with enhancing hand-eye and motor coordination; sports like chess can enhance concentration, problem solving and memory, while sports such as football are great for developing one's physical strength and stamina and enhance social interactions and team work. At the same time, breathing and relaxation exercises, as well as activities to enhance attention and concentration, can have a significant impact,” says Jain.
How to choose a sport for a pre-teener?
But the bigger question is, how do you decide which sport is the best for your pre-teener? “There are certain yardsticks that parents need to take into consideration while enrolling their kid into a particular sport. These could range from their interest, stamina to parent’s support and mind body balance,” says Surabhi Verma, director, Sparsh for Children, Delhi.
Continue reading to know about the five ways of choosing a sport for your pre-teener
Our experts list the following 5 ways that parents can support their children in selecting a sport for them:
- Encourage child to try to play any sport he or she enjoys: The biggest motivation for kids to play sports is having fun. Observe which sports your child likes watching.
- Don't focus on winning, rather focus on participating: Children who are expected to win are often too anxious to do their best during a game. Additionally, they may lose interest in sports and competition of any kind. Also check your child’s team spirit, concentration, and hand and motor coordination.
- Support a child's decision to not play a sport: Do not push a child into sports if he or she does not want to. It can lead to conflict, poor motivation and other problems. Get to know your child’s activity level which sport suits your child and their interest level well.
- Let the child make mistakes: Making mistakes is an integral part of learning. Don’t allow your child’s physical appearance to limit their passion. Do not point to their mistakes at each and every step. Let them be and select mind body activities of their choice.
- Enjoy what you child does and can do: Be interested and supportive, but not too serious or directive. Allow the child to set her own goals and be responsible for her achievements. Pay attention to your child’s attitude during each sport and ask them how they feel after playing.
“Parents can also create a culture of sport at home by watching or talking about key sporting events together with their children, helping their pre-teeners ingrain positive idea of sport and physical activity at a lifestyle level,” says Gill.
Remember, sports are mind body activities that help pre-teeners create physical abilities, exercise, make new friends, have some good times, figure out how to play as an individual, from a group, have a spirit and inculcate a never-say-die spirit. The state of mind and conduct taught to kids in games remains with them for a lifetime.
Therefore, parents should help their pre-teeners develop good sportsmanship. Don't forget that playing games offers kids more than simply physical advantages. It helps them in their holistic development. The advantages are the same regardless of whether your kid really exceeds expectations at the game. So let them be and enjoy the game!
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