Many kids love sports.

They love to play them, they love to watch them and they love the drama that comes with being passionate about sports.

There are many other kids, however, who either haven’t grown up in a sports-loving household or who failed to catch the infectious enthusiasm for sports in the home. For these kids, the time spent on the track, friend, pitch or court could be better spent with their faces buried in a good book, watching movies or playing video games. While these are absolutely fine activities for a kid to enjoy, without a balanced diet of indoor and outdoor pursuits, kids can quickly become couch potatoes.

As parents, it’s up to us to engender a healthy interest in sports. Participation in sports has a wide range of physical, psychological, cognitive and emotional benefits which we’re about to get into right now…

There’s a sport for everyone!

If your child / children say they don’t like sports it’s likely that they just haven’t found the sport for them. When they find what that sport is they are far more likely to feel a personal investment in it and be more inclined to improve their mastery of it. If they show no interest in football, baseball, basketball or hockey, try encouraging them to discover soccer, cheerleading, lacrosse or boxing. And don’t feel that just because they’re over the age of 4 or 5 that they’re too old for gymnastics either! Kids as old as 10 or 11 can start at least covering the basics of this ancient and sport.

It gives them a sense of belonging

The great thing about sports, whether practiced solo, in pairs or in a team, is that they give kids a sense of belonging. Being a member of a team, a club or a society helps them to feel as though they have a place where they fit in which can form a huge part of their emerging identity. When kids set out from home in their cleats and custom youth soccer uniforms they are part of a unit and yet more of an individual than ever before.

It keeps them fit and healthy

In an era where child obesity figures continue to soar, it’s more important than ever that kids see the value of an active lifestyle. Sports can be essential in keeping kids fit and healthy. In fact, did you know that a single soccer game can burn as many as 500 calories, even when played casually? Combined with proper meal planning and healthy school lunches, this can create healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

It can help them in their studies

Playing sports is good for more than just a healthy body, it also helps to craft a healthy mind. Physical exercise promotes the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, facilitating easier concentration and helping kids in their studies.

It helps their social and personal development

Finally, being part of a sports team, group or society can not only give kids a sense of belonging, it can also provide them with better social and personal development. They will make new friends, develop leadership qualities and grow in the confidence to use them.

Whatever age your kids are, however they like to spend their free time, the value of encouraging them to take up sports kind of speaks for itself!