Getting a child involved in sports has positive physical, psychological, and social effects, although, not every kid is interested in playing sports for a variety of reasons. Some kids are shy, some lack self-esteem, some have physical obstacles to overcome, some may not be disciplined enough, some may be short on patience or perseverance. Those are all valid issues. There is, however, one thing that addresses them all: participation in sports.

Physical

With more than one third of children and adolescents considered obese, weight management through physical activity will help your child lessen the chance of the following illnesses as they go through life: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, osteoarthritis, and various cancers.

Active kids also have stronger muscles and bones, and improved energy levels, endurance, and immune systems, which result in active kids getting hurt and sick less than sedentary youngsters.

Mental/Emotional/Psychological

The positive effects physical activity has on the brain are irrefutable, boosting the production of endorphins, which reduce stress and anxiety, and has many mental, emotional, and psychological health benefits. Sports can improve a child’s mood, concentration, stress levels, depression, sleep, confidence, self-esteem, resilience, and their ability to control their emotions.

Social

Kids are constantly trying to understand the rules of proper social behavior. While these unwritten rules can be difficult to learn, sports can develop many of the qualities that every segment of society values, such as respect for authority, camaraderie, teamwork, acceptance of losing, problem solving, patience, and responsibility.

If your child is unable to compete in a physical sport, there are many competitive activities with positive outcomes. If possible, your child should be part of a team rather than involved in an activity that stresses individual achievement; for example, playing chess is wonderful, but being on a chess team is better. Look to your school, community center, or church for suggestions.

The time is short for children to become responsible adults and good citizens. It’s an incredibly difficult job, and parents can use all the help they can get. A child’s participation in sports could be a parent’s best friend.

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