Play is an essential part of child development. But that doesn’t always mean just improvised play with toys, or typical childhood fantasy games. Taking part in structured sports offers obvious physical benefits, but it also teaches children plenty of lessons that will be invaluable to them in future life.
– Competitive sports teaches kids how to handle pressure, and improves their ability to step up to the plate when it counts.
– Sport encourages working towards goals, planning for the future, and accepting delayed gratification.
– Teamwork is vital as an adult, and most sports teach this aspect of life in a natural and fun way.
– Sport is also a great way to learn how to get on with others on a social level, by boosting communication skills and accepting others’ strengths and weaknesses.
– Sport exposes children to victory and defeat. Handling both of these experiences with a sense of perspective is a valuable quality to develop.
– Competition also teaches realism. Not everyone can excel in every activity, and this is an important fact to come to terms with.
– However, sport also shows the rewards of hard work and application, and teaches about making the most of whatever talents you possess.
– Playing as part of a team teaches leadership skills, even if the child isn’t in a formal leadership role. Team sport requires each player to take control from time to time, as part of the natural flow of play.
– Lastly, sport also teaches children the importance of looking after their health. They’ll soon notice if their performance is hindered by being out of shape.
Above all, sport should be fun. But there’s no denying the developmental benefits it brings, and taking part should be gently encouraged by all parents whose children who show any interest at all.