Parents of children know the importance of group activities and organized sports for building self esteem and providing social and interpersonal benefits. Our own childhood memories of youth sports can influence the decisions we make when we consider which sport to sign our kids up for. Remember, just because you were a hockey goalie doesn’t mean your child will follow suit. It’s important to consider your child’s personality and how they will best fit in.
More assertive children may prefer the group atmosphere of being on a team and feel more comfortable playing soccer or hockey. On the other hand, more reserved children might prefer the independence of solo sports like track and field where they can go at their own pace.
While team sports provide a number of benefits, individual sports build self-reliance and internal drive. As a result, there are positives for each option; so whether your child plays for the baseball team or swims on the swim team, sports will likely help foster their independence, confidence and a myriad of other positive social skills.
I often compare the lessons learned from taking part in youth sports to the lifelong habits a child will retain as an adult in the workplace. Even if your child isn’t destined to become an NHL player or an Olympic athlete, you as their parent will still have helped them cultivate their success in the future through participation in sports.
Once a child finds a sport they like, encourage them to stick with it. This will teach them responsibility and show them that it takes hard work and dedication to achieve their goals. (a great lesson that can be applied to the workplace, too). Also, taking part in competitive sports requires an ability to handle disappointments and accept personal responsibility for any mistakes.
Think about a time when you overlooked an important task. It can take a while for children (and even grown adults) to accept failure and learn not to blame others when things go array. Participating in organized sports as a child can teach important lessons about the value of using setbacks as learning opportunities.
Social skills and teamwork are also important to a child’s future in the corporate world. Sports such as basketball, baseball or hockey can teach kids to rely on others to achieve a common goal and put the team’s needs before their own. Social skills are also developed through youth sports and are invaluable to landing a job interview and communicating with co-workers, management and customers.
Lastly, signing your child up for an organized sport gives them a healthy habit of physical activity. From daily workouts to being outside in the fresh air, participation in sports sees kids right through to adulthood and may help them ward off many ailments. A win-win for everyone.