Let junior do sports ― he’ll really benefit!

From boosting stamina and self-esteem to honing social skills, your child will benefit in so many ways when he’s sporty

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Taking part in a sport helps you stay physically fit, while enhancing your emotional, social and mental development. That’s why it’s vital for parents to encourage their children to pick a sport from a young age and practise it.

By age of 5 or 6, most kids have the required physical and mental skills to take part in organised sports ― their posture and balance have improved, as have how quickly they can react. Ideal first sports include swimming, basketball, gymnastics, running, football, tennis and aikido (Japanese martial arts).

Some kids may find their bliss almost immediately, while other budding athletes may take a while longer to figure out where their passion lies. You job as a parent is to help them discover where their interest lies and the sport that fits them best.

Give your child a chance to experience two or three different sporting activities for at least a full season before deciding if they want to drop or pursue it. Be positive and encouraging, but make sure you don’t push them into an activity they dread ― nobody likes doing something they hate. After all, if she doesn’t do well, your little one could feel like a failure, and resist trying other activities. If junior is interested in a contact sport, consider whether she’s physically able to do it: Is she strong enough? Tall enough? Does she run fast enough?

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Besides the obvious health benefits regular physical activities provide, being athletic preps your young one with valuable skills she can use in the future. It:

Boosts self-esteem

When your children realise that they are doing well and achieving their goals, it’s an instant confidence booster. It also teaches them that they can achieve any goal they set their mind to in the future.

Relieves stress

Physical fitness is a great way to get the kids to loosen up, let off steam and bond with their team mates. Interacting with friends during sports not only keeps things fun, it motivates them and makes them happy.

Develops teamwork and leadership skills

Games like football and basketball encourage your young ’un to reach a common goal (win the game), even as they learn to communicate and work together with their teammates. They also learn problem-solving skills, especially when they need to work with difficult team members or competitive opponents.

Teaches junior to how to handle failure

Your mini-me isn’t going to win every game, so no better time than the present to teach them how to manage disappointment and move on.

Photo: iStock

Sign up for a fun-filled Healthy Timeout Challenge activity with junior on the Healthy 365 mobile app (download from Google Play or the Apple App Store) from now till 31 August! You won’t just earn Healthpoints when you scan the QR code on-site, you’ll also stand a chance to win one of three fab staycations as part of the Health Promotion Board’s family engagement initiative.

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