“Children should be playing and moving outdoors instead of sitting indoors” Says Elzanne Van Der Walt, Sports Scientist and Clamber Club Sports franchise owner. Skills learned through playing and sporting activities can contribute to the educational development of children, help children to develop physically, and can shape them to be better human beings. In this article, Elzanne gives us some valuable information and tips on the benefits of sporting for children.”
“Sport can affect the development of a child’s self esteem and self-worth.” Dr Glyn Roberts
What can sporting activities do for my child?
Teach key values – Participating on the playground and sports field teaches values:
- Honesty – through fair play and sticking to the rules of the game.
- Teamwork – through interaction with others, kids learn to play and work together.
- Respect – for yourself, others and equipment used during the games.
- Ability to follow rules – to listen to someone other than a parent or teacher, and to abide by the rules for the good of the team.
- Punctuality – being early, and ready to start when the team does.
- Controlling emotions – sporting games and activities can often lead to strong emotions, such as disappointment, frustration, exhilaration etc. Part of sports is learning how to control your temper and other emotions so that you can participate effectively and in the spirit of good sportsmanship.
Build strong healthy bodies – Sporting activities and exercise can:
Immune system – getting enough exercise strengthens the immune system, which fights infections=
Heart – improves oxygen supply to the heart muscles and makes the heart more effective.
Posture – improves agility, flexibility and overall posture.
Lungs – strengthens the muscles used for breathing, making breathing more efficient and increasing lung capacity.
Bones – increases the bone density, making them stronger and less likely to break.
Sleep – improves sleep and reduces anxiety.
Concentration – increased oxygen to the brain helps to improve concentration.
Develop gross motor skills:
- Body awareness
- Eye hand and eye foot coordination
- Coordination of body sides and crossing the body midline
- Balls skills such as catching, throwing, and kicking
Elzanne’s top SPORTING tips:
- Keep your children physically active – The more active kids are, the higher their skills level will be, the more valuable they will feel, and the more motivated they will be to develop new skills and take on bigger challenges.
- Learn broad sporting skills when young – A preschooler needs to be learning basic techniques and generalized sporting skills, and not those of a specialized sport. If young children have a broader spectrum of sport skills in general it is much easier for them to decide what sports they favor and to see what they are best at. Then at a later stage (when they are a bit older) they can specialize in whatever they are best at or like the most.
- Allow for competition in the older child and learn to lose with grace – Learning to deal with competition is a huge advantage for a child in terms of life skills, and is learnt from participating in competitive sporting games. This is also healthy, but it must be presented and taught the right way. Learning to cope with winning and losing is important.
- Reduce stress and anxiety – Not all children can cope with stress. Sports is known to be one of the best de-stressors for a child. When we are physically active our body releases serotonin which directly contributes to our feelings of well-being.
- Develop muscle memory from a young age – Sporting activities require fast reflexes and skilled movements that have been practiced over and over in many different ways. If this muscle memory is there from a young age, the child feels stronger, more confident and relaxed. This improves their self-esteem and sporting ability.
“Sports is the best medicine for any child’s body, mind and development” Elzanne Van Der Walt.