Kids need to be active, and the right sports for kids will nurture your child’s talents and still provide plenty of fun. Here's a guide to help you find the right activity to get your family moving.
Is there really a "right" answer to this question? Not exactly.
Whether it’s flag football, tennis, or basketball, there’s a sport out there for everyone to enjoy. Activity and playing a sport can be an important part of a child’s development. Through activity and exercise, they'll improve their balance and muscle development, develop social skills, and have fun. So whichever sport you choose, whether it's volleyball, tennis, or swimming, pick one your child will be passionate about. Extra tip: consider which sports you as parents will enjoy watching and driving to, since it's an investment for the whole family.
Participating in athletic activity has many social, emotional, and physical benefits. According to the Aspen Institute, kids who play youth sports are eight times more likely to be active at the age of 24 and have lower rates of obesity. They're also more likely to attend college and have higher grades than their more sedentary counterparts.
Being part of an athletic team also helps participants improve their social skills by showcasing leadership and resolving conflicts. It can also build self-esteem.
But beyond all these long-term benefits, participating in sports is a wonderful way to get children outside and away from screens. That way, they're healthy, active, and developing key physical skills.
So it's no surprise many parents want their children to get active and become athletes. In many cases, children aim for the sport that they already familiar with. When there's a big sister playing soccer, the younger brother might want to play, too. Even watching football games on TV might get a young boy interested to join his high school team.
Whatever your child decides to try, stay supportive and encouraging while not pressuring them. There are thousands of stories of young people pushed into a sport out of family tradition or high expectations that they had neither passion nor skill for.
And if you want your child to stick with it: Be a good example and be active yourself. A couch potato mom or dad telling their kids about the importance of fitness and exercise is not authentic.
There’s a sport out there to suit every child. You just need a little patience to determine what sports for your kid are best. Talk to them about their interests and watch them. Here are a few things to consider:
Most sports can be as competitive or recreational as you want them to be, so look for neighborhood teams over travel ones.
But for the child who just wants to be active and play, look for non-competitive sports like biking, dance classes, fencing, martial arts, hiking, backpacking, or canoeing, horseback riding, or skateboarding. There are even sports for special needs kids that offer exercise and opportunities for socializing.
Whether you have a budding Olympian or a child who needs a little push to get outside and play, sports offer many opportunities for physical activity and social benefits. Just make sure you keep things fun. Do you have any tips for getting your kids involved in sports? Whether they enjoy playing fierce football or riding a kids sports bike, there’s an activity for every kind of child.