Children should be playing and moving outside instead of sitting in front of a computer or watching television.
Sporting activities can teach your child important values like honesty, teamwork, and respect- while also growing strong and healthy bodies.
We chat with Elzanne van der Walt, Sports Scientist, on her top sporting tips, and why playing sports is so beneficial for children:
Ensure that your children are 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.
Teach your children broad sporting skills at a young age
A preschooler needs to be learning basic techniques and generalised sporting skills, and not those of a specialised sport. If young children have a broader spectrum of sport skills in general it is much easier for them to decide what sports they favour and to see what they are best at. Then at a later stage (when they are a bit older), they can specialise in whatever they are best at or like the most.
Help your child accept wins and loses
Learning to deal with competition is a huge advantage for a child in terms of life skills, and is learned from participating in competitive sporting games, and through good role modelling on behalf of parents. It’s important for parents to help their children to accept that sometimes you win, other times you lose, and to be more mindful of good sportsmanship no matter the outcome of the game.
Reduce stress and anxiety
Not all children can cope with stress. Sport 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 wellbeing.
Develop muscle memory from a young age
Sporting activities require fast reflexes and skilled movements that have been practised 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.