Participating in team sports can be both fun and rewarding for kids and their parents. Having fun is the prominent part. If you’re not having fun, it may be time to find a new sport. The rewards come in the forms of:
- Improved confidence for your child as they begin to learn and accept that they have strengths and weaknesses. They can work to strengthen the weaknesses, but each of us is always weaker at something. Life lesson learned.
- Being part of a team teaches there is no “I” in a team. While they can be an exceptional contributor, no game is won or lost by just one person.
- Learning that the entire team is what it takes to win the game is critical to your child’s future. As team members, you sometimes must accept and support decisions you may not agree with; however, you need to respect it and do your best to follow it through.
- While it’s a hard life lesson, kids need to know that life can throw us some curve balls that are just too hard to hit. Sometimes the best thing to do is “suck it up” and keep on truckin’! Playing a sport is also going to teach resilience, get back on the horse and try again.
- As Aretha would tell us, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.” The kids are going to find out what it means to respect their coaches, refs, teammates, and parents. This is going to lead them to the life lesson to respect elders, bosses, and other authority figures.
- And there is so much more:
- Managing conflict
- Appreciating diversity
- Recognizing and appreciating the other player’s abilities
- Improved self-esteem
- Communication skills
- Goal setting
- A feeling of being involved in something bigger than them
- Become more considerate of other people and their feelings
We’ve listed the “soft” skills, which are somewhat intangible; however, there are also some physical benefits.
- Better overall health
- Greater awareness of quality exercise on a regular basis
- Better diet habits and making better food choices
- Understanding how they can get stronger
- Weight training
As a parent, you can benefit from your child’s sports activities. Parents:
- Can make new friends with other parents
- Create more adult relationships for date nights
- Create more quality time with your child
- Your child can see you more as a role model
- The kids can see that you have a fun side as well as an authoritative side
- You gain a better sense of community and belonging, especially if you’re new to the area
- Your encouragement and support is likely to improve your child’s appreciation of the sport
Consider having a family sports night regularly. Go bowling, biking, walking, play putt-putt or other things that involve the entire family. Other ideas are visiting a museum, taking an art class together, or attending a sporting game in your area. You can even stay home and play cards or other games, or work a puzzle. Enjoy an evening of play, catch a quick meal and everyone can feel closer and be more inclined to share more together.