With recent health studies concerning sports and health for adults and children alike, many parents might be wondering what kind of sports their child should join, if any at all. There is a natural instinct in all parents to protect our children from potential injuries, and when your child wants to play a contact sport like football or rugby, or they want to start lessons for aerial gymnastics or cheerleading, you might worry for their safety.
Deciding whether or not your child should play sports can be difficult for some families. Which sports are safe? Should your child play at all?
Today, in honor of Youth Sports Week, Steamboat Emergency Center wants to encourage all parents to let their children play sports. We want to reassure your fears, talk about the reasons sports can be beneficial for your children, and in turn, how to make sure they stay safe while they do it.
The benefits of sports are not just physical. Children who get involved with sports and group activities can learn valuable social skills like cooperation, teamwork, self-confidence, and perseverance. Learning to work together with others will help your child make new friends, encourage them to think of others, and even prepare them for group-projects they will be assigned in school. Being taught by coaches and teammates to work hard for their goals is a life skill that will benefit your child as they grow and discover new goals in their adulthood.
Self-confidence can be one of the best benefits of playing sports. There are many discussions between psychologists about how sports can benefit a child’s self-confidence or hinder it, but there seems to be a common agreement. When parents stay plugged into their children’s lives and interests, they can instill confidence in their child. As a parent, it is important to make sure your child isn’t feeling pressured or stressed to always win, as that stress can become a detriment to your child’s wellbeing. It is equally important, though, to encourage them even when they lose. Teach them that as long as they try their hardest and are not giving up, they are winners to you. This kind of positive reinforcement can help your child develop self-confidence, along with the social skills mentioned above.
Physical activity has a lot of obvious health benefits. Adults are frequently encouraged to find time for activity in their lives, whether it is stretches in the office or taking jogs in the morning. Children usually need less encouragement, as their growing bodies are often overflowing with energy to get out and play but providing a structure for kids’ activity can be beneficial.
Sports can push your child to reach new goals and try harder. There is a difference between playing kickball in the cul-de-sac and scoring the winning goal during the last soccer game of the season. Practicing and training for their sport of choice can build their skills and coordination, as well as strengthen their hearts and lungs, and increase their metabolism. All of these can help a growing child’s health be bolstered for adulthood. Muscles will be stronger, ligaments and tendons more limber. There are countless health factors that sports and exercise can improve, not the least of which being heart and lung health.
But what about the risks? Many parents worry about their kids getting injured during games or at practice, but there are some great, easy ways to mitigate any concerns you might have about your child’s safety.
Making sure your child’s equipment is always up to standard and protecting them well is a good place to start. If you make sure your child is properly outfitted with shin guards, shoulder pads, helmets, and so on, then they will be protected from many of the risks involved in contact sports. Talking with a physician and getting regular sports physicals is also important.
While there is always a fear that youth sports could injure a child too deeply, with awareness and caution, your children can get the most out of their sports experiences while staying safe. If you have any concerns about which sports your child can safely play, then consult with a pediatrician. If your child experiences any sports or household emergencies, then remember that Steamboat Emergency Center is open 24/7 with concierge-level emergency care for all ages.
Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your family’s health. Come visit Steamboat Emergency Center or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.