As parents, we always find ourselves stressing the importance of working hard in school. Even though our children are young, it is so exciting to see them learn a new concept or master a new skill. The math, science, reading, writing and history they are learning is truly going to be the basis of the rest of their education and we cannot wait to see them learn and grow in the future. However, some of the most important things children are going to learn can’t be taught in a classroom. We think that the social skills our children develop early on are just as important as what they are read from their textbooks, but are perhaps even harder to teach and to master; that is why we see such value in encouraging children to play sports.
Through sports, kids learn skills they will take with them for the rest of their lives. They learn the value and importance of physical fitness and begin to find what kinds of exercises they like. They learn how to work through pain. They also discover that success doesn’t come without hard work; they realize that they have to practice to be good enough to win. When they do win, they feel a sense of accomplishment. Most coaches or organizations teach children how to win graciously. And how to be a good sport when they lose. Losing also teaches kids that sometimes things are not going to go their way, no matter how hard they worked. They learn to channel disappointment into motivation; even the best athletes have a bad race or a game that doesn’t go their way, so they must use these setbacks as motivation to work even harder to do better next time. Sports also teach kids the importance of teamwork and the relationships between childhood teammates often turn into lifelong friendships. Through sports, kids often learn how to prioritize and plan a schedule. Even if the parents are the ones doing the planning and organizing, kids see that if they want to be a part of a team, they have to commit their time to being at practice and at games, even if that means sacrificing other things they want to do.
Even if your child is never the MVP or decides that he or she wants to pursue other interests, trying a new sport is almost always a beneficial endeavor. Nothing teaches these important life lessons quite like being involved in sports. We encourage any parent to look for a team or organization for their child or children to participate in. Who knows, the adults might learn a thing or two as well!
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