How to choose a sport for a child?

Physical activity is a need of the body. As important as good nutrition and good sleep. The child develops in motion from birth, so intellectual and physical development are closely related. Physical milestones can be used to determine how well a child is developing. In addition, physical activity affects the child’s emotional sphere and mental state. But some children do not like sports, and someone already has chronic diseases. We tell you how to choose suitable activities for anyone and what to do if the child does not want to study. 

Why do children need sports?

Physical activity is important for healthy growth and development – it is hardening, muscle training, development of the skeletal system, and increased emotional tone. The benefits of sports go far beyond physical activity. Children who lack activity sleep less, fall asleep longer, develop sleep deprivation, and are more likely to be in a bad mood.  

With sufficient physical activity, full-fledged bone mineralization occurs. Children who do not play sports are passive; it is more difficult for them to study. And those who do better cope with mental stress. 

More than 80% of teenagers suffer from a lack of mobility. Active children become active adults because if you instill the right habits regarding sports from the very beginning of life, this will help form the habit of activity and reduce the problems many adults experience due to its lack: obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and others.

Modern children need sports; they only go out for a short time and are always engaged in endless intellectual development. 

  • The WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity has recognized an important relationship between the level of physical activity, the duration of periods of limited mobility, and the amount of sleep. As well as their impact on physical and mental health and well-being.

The WHO recommends reducing the time spent on sedentary activities such as watching TV or playing computer games. Therefore, choosing a sport that will be more interesting than a tablet or computer for a child is important. 

The task of sports is primarily to bring pleasure. Sometimes parents give their child to sports in the hope of sports success, which leads to stress for the whole family. 

Sport gives children company and friends with similar goals and interests. It reduces stress and improves self-esteem. It develops communication skills that online gaming cannot replace if it is a team sport.

Research by the Institute of Medicine has shown that “more active children show more attention, have faster cognitive processing speeds and perform better on standardized academic tests than less active children.” It also teaches children to follow directions and instructions.

How to choose a sport for a child?

Children aged 5-12 should engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. Of course, it is more difficult for schoolchildren to organize this, but the more physical activity a child has, the better.

It is not necessary to choose sports immediately and for life. Many factors influence this decision: from the place of residence and the amount of free time the parents have to the child’s desire. You need to start some classes, develop the habit of physical activity, and then figure out which sport is best for you. 

A family decision that a child should go in for sports is useful. Parents often choose a sport based on family values ​​and traditions. 

The location of the sports club near the house, the cost, and the schedule of classes may influence the choices. In addition, the physical characteristics of the child affect the child. For example, joint hypermobility or connective tissue dysplasia is valued in gymnastics, choreographic sports, and acrobatics. 

Parents do not think about what kind of sport the child is inclined to; they think about their desire for the child to dance or go football. They will perceive sport as a physical activity and choose where it is closer and more convenient to get to. 

It is not so important which section to send the child to for regular classes, it is important that there is physical activity. 

What to Consider

First of all, it is worth considering the desire of the child and the physical accessibility of the sports club. Even in the best and most interesting place, carrying a child through the city for a whole year will be difficult. Most of the time, these activities end quickly. It is better to pick up a section near the house, even if it differs from the sport you originally wanted. 

Each sport consists of general physical exercises: strength, endurance, flexibility, and special characteristics for a particular sport. Each sport has its asymmetry in the development of muscles and motor skills – this must be compensated for by general physical development. 

In addition to the basic exercises the coach gives in the classroom to develop the necessary muscles, there are others that the child needs to compensate for the athletic physique. If a child studies for a long time and achieves certain success, then it is necessary to compensate for and balance the asymmetric development, which may be due to the influence of sports. 

There are such features in every sport. For example, Latin American dances put a lot of stress on the knees, and exercises are needed to stabilize the motor apparatus. Therefore, if a parent sends a child to sports not for high achievements but for strengthening health, then such extremes in development should be compensated for by additional classes. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children play multiple sports and delay specialization (excluding gymnastics) until age 15 or 16 to avoid injury and premature burnout. A child repeating the same movement day in and day out can strain the muscles, stretch the tendons, and interfere with harmonious growth.

How to choose a sport for a child?

It is important to consider the characteristics of the child’s health, but it is worth remembering that you can choose sports activity for any state of health. 

We are trying to improve the quality of life for children with chronic diseases, that is why we introduce restrictions on sports activities as rarely as possible. If a child has diseases that imply load restrictions, we write that the child can practice in the section without participating in competitions or overexerting. 

Children with diseases of the cardiovascular system, asthma, or diseases of the joints need to limit not certain sports but the intensity of the load. There are diseases. In which excessive injury is dangerous, for example. For arthritis, in this case, it is better to choose less traumatic sports than skiing or football. In other cases, the restriction should not be by sport but by the intensity of the load.  

In any case, it is necessary to select sports, and if a child has chronic diseases, then sports should be selected with specialists. Physical therapy might work. With diabetes, it is necessary, together with endocrinologists, to understand how to control sugar during exercise and deal with any diseases. 

Do not think that the chosen sport can change any behavioral characteristics of the child. If he does not get along with his peers, team sports will not help change this. 

It is optional to give a child who does not communicate well with peers a team sport; if the child is an individualist, you should not give him basketball or football. He will have more conflicts; he will have more clashes with the guys and in the end, the situation will only worsen. 

The same can be said about children with concentration disorders. They are often given to some martial arts or yoga – types where you need to concentrate on breathing and the sensations of your body. But for a child who already endures a stationary state in a class all day, such sports will only be an additional burden. 

Speed ​​skating or athletics are better suited for children with ADHD, where you need to spend energy. And if you want a child with ADHD to learn to concentrate better, it is better to send him rock climbing. There he will carefully look for something to cling to so as not to fall, but at the same time, there will be a lot of joy from the fact that he climbs up. 

How to choose a sport for a child?

Another misconception is to give boxing or wrestling children with increased impulsiveness or emotionality. It is believed that in this case, the child will be taught to apply the acquired skills not in a school fight but only in battle. In fact, if a child cannot cope with outbursts of anger, then it is better not to give him to sports, where he will learn to beat or do submissions. No fighting philosophy can hold such a child, which can end badly for other children. 

A common myth is that a child who is offended a lot should be given to contact sports so that he learns to defend himself. Most likely, such a child will not be able to attend such classes, even if he is persuaded and forced. 

If a child has difficulties with studies, martial arts may suit him. They develop well the connection between the hemispheres and the interaction between the right and left parts of the body. It will help develop what, at an older age, will be responsible for synthesis and analysis. Therefore, if a child cannot isolate the main idea in the text or does not do well with mathematics, then martial arts can help him. If you want to protect the child from blows, wrestling is better: in addition to developing the whole body, it helps to develop thinking. It is often referred to as “chess on the carpet.”  

An important point is the choice of a coach. It also depends on the purpose of sports activities. For amateur sports, you need to choose a coach who will captivate children with sports and can make classes interesting. 

Coaches are often emotional and do not hesitate to yell, scold, or scream, but training should be based on support, not criticism – these echoes of the old punitive system. He must be loved, groomed, and cherished to bring up a good athlete. If a child does not feel well next to a tough coach, then there will be no benefit from such sports activities. 

But at the same time, relying on the child’s opinion is incorrect because the coach can do his job of physical development. In this case, there may be individual exercises that the child does not like. If the child says the coach is bad, you should see for yourself and go to class to see how they go. 

A certified trainer knows biomechanics and physiology; he knows how to build a lesson and what exercises to give or not to give to children. He understands the anatomical and physiological features and knows how to form certain training cycles for developing certain areas. 

Before bringing your child in for trial training, look at the trainer’s experience with children and whether they have a teaching background, such as “trainer-teacher.” A specialist who has not been retrained to work with children will not be suitable if the child has limitations or health conditions. 

How to help a child

First of all, it is necessary to determine how seriously the family is ready to invest in the child’s sports development. To do this, you must determine whether he tends to do such activities. 

First, children learn to train, follow the coach’s commands, work individually and in a group and then have professional specialization. 

It is important to see a separate personality in a child and understand that he wants to practice, train, and become a successful athlete. It often happens that the parents invest some of their hopes and aspirations in the child.  

Experienced coaches immediately see whether the child will succeed, but professional sports are a difficult path for a child; he constantly feels disappointment and experiences a tremendous burden on his sense of well-being. In such situations, it is important to understand whether this story is worth such children’s and parental efforts. 

It is better to turn to professionals who will immediately understand that the child has a penchant for professional sports. These can be experienced coaches, sports psychologists, and doctors. They will help you figure out how a particular child can achieve results in sports. 

In any sport, it happens that parents rely on the achievements of their children. They take them to expensive schools and send them to competitions. But if, after contacting professionals, it becomes clear that the child will not be a professional athlete, then you can lower the bar and return to the level of enjoying sports. 

The task of parents is to understand whether the sport of high achievement is suitable for their child. It is better to focus on supporting and encouraging children rather than pushing them to sports achievements. 

If children do not want to play sports, you must look for a suitable option. Maybe the child will like football, not swimming. And another will prefer taekwondo instead of boxing. A coach who arranges entertaining classes with game elements may be suitable. But in any case, you need to find classes the child will attend.

Sometimes you need to pick it up; it very rarely happens that the child doesn’t want anything at all; perhaps the help of a psychologist is needed to help determine the child’s characteristics and select a section for them. 

It is necessary to select the right motivation, look for approaches and find something the child will be interested in. If a child goes to different sections and cannot settle down anywhere, it is important to find out the real reason for this behavior. Maybe he doesn’t like football, or maybe in this place, he is offended by the team, or the coach is behaving rudely. You must always figure it out before taking your child out of class. Usually, a child keeps pursuing what he is good at. 

To motivate a child, he needs to be very much praised. If we constantly make remarks to the child that he did not try hard enough here and not enough here either, this kills any desire to study him. 

Some children do not want to go anywhere. They like to sit at home with a tablet or a book, and it cannot be easy to persuade such a child to participate in sports.  

With children who do not like anything new and do not like to expand their interests, a bribery system is allowed; you can tell the child that after class you can go to a cafe or other interesting place together. So we move on to the bonus system and reinforce the habit of exercising. 

Important to remember

  • Physical activity is a must in a child’s life.
  • The choice of a specific section is not important if we are not talking about professional sports. 
  • When choosing, you need to consider the location of classes and the schedule so that everyone is comfortable.
  • When practicing the same sport for a long time, it is important to compensate for muscle asymmetry on the recommendation of a sports doctor. 
  • You can choose physical activity for any disease or condition. 
  • It is better to choose a trainer with a pedagogical education. 
  • It is important to see a separate personality in a child and understand the desires and aspirations of his parents.  

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