Sport is essential for proper development of motor skills in children, their overall physical and mental well-being. Check out the sports your kid could practice and how they will contribute to his/her happy childhood.
Physical activity, including the game is one of the most successful and unobtrusive ways for children to maintain their joints and muscles flexible and their heart rhythm in norm, to improve their social skills, to learn teamwork, honesty, coordinated actions, responsibility and discipline. Technology has replaced sports and social events nowadays. That’s why parents have the difficult task to find an attractive way to focus the attention of children on more beneficial for their development activities and to show them that there are other opportunities for entertainment.
Sport is such an opportunity, but it must be properly selected according to child’s age, interests and abilities to be a successful enterprise. Moreover, it is very important for children to feel the emotional support of their parents and select themselves the activities which to participate in. Pressure, high requirements and compulsory visit to a particular activity will only frustrate, discourage and repel them. That, accordingly, could negatively affect their overall attitude towards sport.
Younger children (from 2 to 5 years of age) have not yet perfected the basic movements and relationships with the surrounding environment, so for them are suitable more simple sports such as biking, swimming, gymnastics, ball game, which do not require a strict organization or structure of the performance.
As they age (between 6 and 9 years) their perception, attention and communication skills improve and they are ready for organized activities such as football, tennis, athletics, skating and karate.
By the age of 10 years, children already have more mature thinking and are able to understand and replicate sports strategies, which in turn allows them to participate in complex sports as hockey, volleyball, basketball, yoga.
Here are the benefits of each sport:
Football for children
As a group activity, football teaches children of agility, speed and endurance and bring to the fore teamwork in which the individual qualities are important to the success of the whole team. In health respect this sport improves the cardiovascular and muscular endurance, flexibility, coordination and balance of body and keeps weight in norm. In social aspect it teaches discipline, fair play, self-esteem and develops leadership skills.
Football (like the other similar team sports) is very suitable for children who quickly get bored with other physical activity as it maintains an intense pace of implementation and focus attention on action. It is good the younger children to play with a smaller ball and terrain.
Swimming for children
Swimming is one of the most complete sports for physical development of children, especially of infants. In weightless aquatic environment the youngest can train more muscle groups and develop naturally all their senses and instincts. In older children swimming strengthens the whole body – from the spine to the legs, improves cardiac and respiratory activity, keeps joints flexible, improves blood flow to the brain, and hence the success at school.
Swimming is a sport suitable for all children over 4 months of age. Before they grow enough for individual or group lessons children can play in the pool with their parents. The eye contact will strengthen the relationship parent – child while the stay in the aquatic environment will wake child’s natural reflexes and will bring him/her positive emotions, which in turn will have a beneficial impact on his/her physical and psychological shape at a later stage.
Cycling for children
Besides being funny, cycling is a great form of exercise for children. It develops their sense of balance, burns calories, strengthens the heart, lungs, bones and muscles in the lower body, creates a sense of social belonging, strengthens the relationship with the family, helps to build spatial orientation, self-esteem and extraversion.
Cycling gives children a kind of freedom beyond the limits of the playground, allowing them to spend time in fresh air. Bicycling is suitable for all ages. Children may experience the pleasure of it even with the age of 2 years, initially using plastic bicycles with three wheels or without pedals. Later children can ride bicycles with training wheels supported by their parents for optimal safety, and when the balance is completely under control – children can bicycle alone.
Gymnastics for children
Gymnastics is a sport that focuses on balance, flexibility and overall endurance. It helps children to maintain good physical shape and adequate weight for their age. Gymnastics improves body coordination and mental abilities, trains muscles and strengthens bones, maintains blood pressure in norm, protects against serious diseases, motivates, disciplines and creates a solid foundation for any other sports.
Thanks to gymnastics children learn to focus their attention on performance, learn to communicate and listen, to respect the others. Children start to set bigger and more distant in time life goals, they build confidence and learn to control their own body, which helps their self-development as individuals.
Martial arts for children
Whether it comes to karate, aikido, mai tai, taekwondo or kung fu, martial arts are a great option for sport as they train the whole body, psychological endurance and concentration. Warm-up with jumps, push-ups and stretching, as well as the actual movements of martial arts strengthen the muscles, heart, blood vessels and flexibility. In parallel, martial arts build a sense of strength and self-esteem caused by the acquired self-defense techniques.
Martial arts are extremely useful for building a strong value system in children. Respect to the coach and the opponent comes first. The techniques are used not for aggressive physical dominance, but as conscious and controlled inner strength for personal growth. On the other hand, reaching each next level builds motivation, determination and desire for self-improvement.
Ice skating for children
Figure skating is a sport which gives the children a sense of an active lifestyle. It teaches them to overcome stress, to learn from their mistakes, to work under pressure and to train their emotional and physical balance. Furthermore, ice skating improves breathing, shape, muscle strength and endurance, posture, flexibility and coordination of the body, and thus the overall health.
It is recommended children to get on the ice skates only when they have learned to walk stably (around 3-4 years of age) and necessarily under the supervision of a professional. The smaller the child is, the more painless and less stressful will be its falls. Every incident will develop his/her natural instincts for self-preservation and train him/her for further falls and risk terrains. It is good ice skating to be combined with roller skating. Thus children will maintain their acquired skills and also will feel the difference between the two types of activity.
Tennis for children
Tennis is as physical as it is mental sport, suitable for primary school children. On the one hand it develops the locomotory system, strengthens the legs and arms, improves flexibility, bone strength and immune system. On the other hand children learn to take responsibility for their actions, decisions and mistakes, to cope with stress, play sportsmanlike in a group. At the same time tennis builds a healthy competitive spirit.
Tennis teaches children coordination, complicated technical skills and strategies that can help them in future life. To be useful, however , tennis must be presented to the child in age when he/she is already able to integrate in such an environment.