To Compete or NOT to Compete: THAT is the question.
Kids have been running, throwing, climbing and swimming throughout time. Children learn new skills and how to control these skills. The exercise that is a part of athletics is important for physical conditioning. Children and adults who are in good physical condition generally feel good about themselves.
Learning how to play a sport is a learning exercise that is as useful to a child’s developmentas other learning experiences are. There are beneficial social aspects as well. The competition that children impose on themselves is also potentially beneficial. Athletics for all children of all abilities should be encouraged. Parents want healthy children and the goal is to produce healthy adults.
All sports have benefits for kids who participate and according to Livestrong.com, there are many benefits of competition for children. Some of those include:
Millions of American children and teenagers are overweight. The obesity epidemic in the United States is causing an early onset of health problems like diabetes. Participating in competitive youth sports burns calories and helps to prevent obesity. Additionally, the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports states that children who are active in sports eat healthier foods, like fruits and vegetables, than those who are inactive.
Self-esteem is another benefit of competitive youth sports. The University of Florida states that youth sports have many social benefits including increasing self-esteem and sense of self-worth. When a child wins a game with his team, he feels accomplished and recognized. Even when he doesn’t win, he learns a valuable lesson: that you can’t win every time. Losing with his team can also increase self-esteem, as he learns to hold his head high and feel proud for trying his best.
Less Risky Behavior
According to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, youth sports can actually act as a deterrent to negative behavior like smoking, using drugs and having unprotected sex. This is because competitive sports provide an outlet for expression, friendship and a feeling of worth. Teens who have positive influences like friends don’t feel the need to participate in risky behaviors like those who are lonely. Competing in youth sports is also a positive way of getting out aggression, because children and teens are less likely to become violent or join gangs.
Remember, the best sport for your child is the one he enjoys; don’t force your preferences. Provide a variety of opportunities and follow his lead. Remember, you will likely be more focused on wins and loses than your child, and he can have a good experience no matter the outcome of the event.