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Top 10 Benefits of Youth Sports

By: Arit Essien

Friendly competition, opportunities for getting involved with your child, and the excitement of gamedays are all reasons why parents choose to enroll kids in sports; but engaging little ones in athletics has a bevy of other benefits! Take a look at some of the top ten benefits for involving your child in youth sports!
  1. Socialization skills: Learning to share is a skill children are introduced to very early on, but being socialized and "playing well" with others requires a lot more than that! Sports give children a way to practice a range of critical social skills including effective communication and conflict resolution; all while making new friends!
  2. New friends: Not for the kids this time...but for the parents! New to the area? Stay-at-home-mom? Busy professional?? Youth sports are beneficial to parents also because they provide parents an opportunity to meet other parents in the community, and those parents who share a similar interest of engaging their youngsters (an added benefit!)
  3. Community Awareness: Do you want to learn more about where you live? What better way than by participating in a youth athletic league! (YAL) parents can learn a great deal about their communities through increased knowledge of local parks and recreation offerings; volunteering, by attending league or local government meeting; and by associating with community members and parents from neigboring schools. 
  4. Parent/Child Involvement: Speaking of being involved in the community, sports also helps parents to be more engaged with their children--even if finding time can be a predicament sometimes! Parents can bond with their children by helping them with practice sessions, volunteering (of course!), attending games, or by engaging them in good 'ole baseball chat around the dinner table or during car rides. Sharing stories about your own involvement in sports as a kid, or recent news events about sports events or baseball can also be interesting. Consider attending a professional game with your child as a reward or special treat! Tip: Youth leagues occasionally offer tickets to professional games as a fundraiser. Check with your league.
  5. Energy Aversion: Too much energy and hyperactivity are some of the most common gripes of parents to young children; but children sometimes only need more options for applying their endless energy...or more challenging options. Sports are a great solution. The physical demands of training, practices and games, can return children home feeling accomplished, yet tuckered out and ready for a good nights rest! Physical fitness: With physical fitness programs being cut in many schools, the need for extracurricular sports activities is even more important. Kids get exercise benefits through sports without even realizing that it is exercise!
  6. Mental fitness: Sports are a natural outlet for stress. Tantrums, mood swings, and occasional irritability are all part of being a kid, but instead of throwing in the towel, try an athletic league! Sports also are a self-esteem enhancer. Children gain a sense of pride as family and friends cheer for them. Sports provide a sense of connectedness and community, which are critical to development and overall well-being.
  7. Mentoring: A great coach not only motivates a team, but also is a great role model. Be sure that when you are choosing a youth league, that you also take the time to choose your coach! Send your coach an email introducing yourself, attend any meet-and-greets offered, or...volunteer to be a coach! Who know how to be a great coach other than you? 
  8. Free time: Need to run a quick errand, get apples at the grocery? Practices can afford parents a little much-needed time occasionally. Parents can also find creative time-saving options such as car-pooling, or arranging pickups and drop-offs with other parents. 
  9. Academic performance: Sports equals discipline, and good discipline equals increased school performance. When children learn the essence of being rounded, its easier for them to apply the same principles in other areas such as work, school, and personal life.
  10. Discipline/Life Skills: Speaking of work, sports teach important leadership skills, provides cultural exposure, and helps kids to learn how to manage difficult situations or difficult people! Respect, listening, arriving on time, training on regular schedule, eating well (plenty of fruits and veggies) and staying focused from distraction; are rules of almost any game. Winning and losing also teach kids fundamentals of pride and humility.
Fun: But come on...Winning is fun--when it happens! And the overall experience of being on a youth athletic team is fun; so if you haven't already, go register for something!

Now those are some good reasons to take your kid to the ballpark!
To share benefits that you have found from involving your child in youth athletics, or personal stories, email: TheEssienAgency at gmail.com

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