I hear my parents talk about how as children they used to play in the street until dinnertime. They would roller skate, play hide and seek, and spend their free time outside. Nowadays, children are constantly tempted to play Angry Birds or Minecraft, or to watch iCarly or Dora the Explorer.
Most children spend about 3 hours a day watching TV. When you add in other screen time activities, it is closer to 5 – 7 hours a day – I find these stats staggering. Also, 1 out of 3 children are obese in America.
There is a long list of reasons why being active is healthy. There are the obvious reasons such as having strong bones and a strong heart. Here are some very convincing reason why as parents we need to consistently encourage our kids to get outside and move… the benefits of physical activity and sports as a child is long-lasting.
• BETTER IN SCHOOL Kids who participate in sports do better in school and have enhanced social skills.
• MOTOR SKILLS Motor skills, strategic thinking, and even math skills are learned by playing sports.
• SELF ESTEEM Girls develop increased self-esteem, confidence, and have a healthier body image.
• LESS PREGNANCY Girls are more likely to finish high school and college, are less likely to become pregnant as teenagers, and are less likely to suffer from depression. Girls also decrease the likelihood of developing breast cancer and osteoporosis.
• DRUG FREE Kids who participate in sports are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and are less likely to start smoking.
• LESS STRESS Physical activities are a good way to relieve stress and reduce depression, allow kids to clear their minds of academic and social pressures.
• GOAL SETTING Sports help kids develop discipline. They learn to set goals and then work to achieve those goals. They learn that by working hard they can accomplish the things that they want to in their lives.
• STRATEGIC THINKING Students develop strategic thinking as they figure out plays and the best way to get around a player or score a goal. Math skills are used as they calculate scores and stats.
• QUALITY FAMILY TIME Sports allow for quality time with family. Often there are opportunities to teach a life value, not just how to improve your child’s catching.
• TEAMWORK Kids who participate in sports learn teamwork — cooperation, camaraderie, give-and-take. Kids learn to not think just about themselves, but rather learn to be happy for the success of others and the entire team.
• SPORTSMANSHIP Kids who play sports quickly learn that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. They learn to be a good sport in both situations. It also helps them learn to deal with disappointment and go on.
• LEADERSHIP Sports help develop teamwork and leadership skills. Kids quickly learn that they have to work together as a team to win the game.