The sports arena is also the arena of life where your child gets a precious opportunity to develop cognitive functions by understanding the rules of the game – but also by drawing conclusions about the way life works. By participating in any team sport, your child learns about the importance of cooperating with others to achieve a common goal, being selfless, devoted, and respectful.
More importantly, sport is the greatest teacher about the necessity of not giving up after failure, and it supports development of critical thinking in your kids. It encourages them to employ strategies which help them learn from previous experience and to focus on perfecting their skills. Here’s why sports should be a part of your kid’s everyday.
Playing sports builds character
Let’s take a walk through history to learn a lesson or two. The magnificent civilization of ancient Greeks left an enormous legacy: sports and the Olympic games are just a fragment of it. Sports philosophy and the holistic approach (mind and body unity) they nurtured found its way to our time, in a slightly different form.
Nevertheless, the Greeks understood the benefits of competing: men and boys were encouraged to work on building strong and muscular physiques, as many sculptures from the ancient era testify. Greeks were a society that had deeply rooted values and culture codes, which constructed a specific way of life. Such is the concept of agon, Greek term for a struggle or a contest. However, this concept wasn’t just directed externally – with an athlete focused on its opponents but also internally – by striving to conquer himself and his weaknesses.
Your kid should nurture the same mindset. According to NYU Child Study Center, sports really do teach children discipline and help with building critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Every fail provides an opportunity of becoming better tomorrow and that is the true essence of playing sports: playing to be the best, not in comparison to others – but by competing with yourself.
It helps your child develop social intelligence
A recent study has shown there’s a significantly higher level of social intelligence in a sports person in comparison to a non-sportsperson. Participating in sports activities influences the development of one’s personality and teaches about how to act in social situations and manage relationships with others effectively. Building skills such as social and emotional intelligence from an early age is extremely beneficial for your child as he or she will grow into a successful and healthy adult capable of handling stressful communications.
Take football for an example: every player has its position on the field and a certain role to play according to its strengths and the agreed strategy for the game. Your child will have to learn the basic rules of interacting with its teammates and rivals and to control its emotional reactions in situations where there’s an obvious lack of fair play. It’s the greatest school of life! And you pay almost nothing for it. Just get the ball and two soccer goals and place them in the backyard so to turn it into a family activity everyone will enjoy. Although it’s good for your child to keep their eyes on the prize (as winning a game can be a huge motivational boost), make sure to reward the effort – not results, and incorporate the element of fun.
Sports teach about the importance of commitment
Make sure your child understands the importance of sticking with practice in spite of the possible disappointments. Continuous dedication ensures your child learns to be responsible and get a fuller understanding of how his actions and efforts gradually pay off. Humans are beings that learn the most through real life experience and this empirical way of comprehending the connection between cause and effect is irreplaceable. As
As one Swedish study showed, playing sports helps with cognitive development. Physical activity boosts your kid’s strategic thinking: if they understand what caused a certain action, they can map out the steps that lead to unwanted consequences and come up with an effective solution. Each time your child gets triggered by something like his teammate not passing the ball during the basketball game, they will be better at handling unpleasant situations and won’t give up because of it. This is an extremely important quality that can be crucial for adulthood.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to benefits of your children playing sports. It will surely make them happier, mentally balanced, overall healthier, and readier to tackle everyday challenges.
Guest author – Zara Lewis
A very big welcome and thank you to Zara Lewis, the author of this article and our first guest post, “Influence of sport on developing strategic thinking in your kids”.
Zara Lewis (Twitter: @ZaraELewis) is a mom, designer and a regular contributor to High Style Life, a website dedicated to life and all the little pleasures it brings. She is devoted to implementing healthy life habits in every aspect of life, of her family and friends. She seeks for beauty in everything that surrounds her. Zara hopes to start a blog about it one day but until then, writes her diary occasionally. She is a romantic soul and tech geek in one body. She enjoys hiking, cycling, yoga and cooking.