Sports help kids gain confidence, develop healthy habits, and learn social skills. As a parent, you might be struggling to help your child find a sport they like. A safe kids camp can be a perfect place to help your child explore sports in a supportive environment. 

Summer Day Camp Provides Opportunities to Try New Kids Sports 

Sports build skills in kids that they will carry with them the rest of their lives. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology (AACP), playing on a sports team affects their physical, mental, emotional, and social development. Parents know the benefits of sports, but there is a right way and a wrong way to encourage your child to find a sport that they enjoy. First, let’s explore what sports do for children. 

Supports Physical Development and Health 

According to the AACP, sports are an excellent way to develop physical skills. Regular exercise encourages the development of strong bones and muscles. It can also help in maintaining a proper weight. 

This improves the immune system and sets the child up for healthy habits, including physical activity, that they will carry for the rest of their life. Project Play found that children who engage in sports as adolescents are eight times as likely to be active at age 24 as those who do not. Also, the study found that nearly 77% of all adults over the age of 30 who played sports at an early age continue to play them into adulthood. 

Supports Mental Development 

Many games, such as soccer, lacrosse, and other team sports, include strategy. This encourages cognitive development and decision-making. Kids sports give the child a chance to get immediate feedback on the decisions they make. They must develop the ability to think quickly and respond to changing circumstances. These are skills that they can apply to the academic and business world throughout the rest of their life. 

According to the Aspen Play Project, playing sports improves academic achievement. In a study that tracked kids from kindergarten through the 4th grade, it was found that physical activity is associated with improved academic achievement. These improvements included better grades and higher scores on standardized tests. 

Sports can also encourage discipline and improve attitudes towards academic behavior. Sports increase concentration and attention span, and they also improve classroom behaviors. In a similar study, it was also found that high school athletes are more likely than non-athletes to attend college and get degrees. 

Encourages Emotional Development 

The Aspen Play Project also found a close connection between regular exercise and improved mental health among students. Students who exercised either individually or through sports at least six or seven days a week felt sad fewer days over the course of a year than students who exercised zero to one day. Mental health problems were found to be twice as likely in children who reported that they did not exercise when compared to those who participated in regular physical activity. 

Sports build confidence and self-esteem. They teach the child how to handle disappointment in a positive way. Setting and achieving goals, either individually or as a team, helped boost self-confidence and develop leadership skills. These effects pour over into other areas of their life, such as academics and maintaining healthy relationships with peers, family members, and adults. 

Kids Sports Activities Develop Social Skills and Communication 

Team sports that involve working together for a common goal develop important social skills. Participation in sports requires communication between the players and the development of learning to offer encouragement to others. Social skills learned through sports carry over into the classroom and work environment. 

Children who participate in sports show leadership and learn how to provide positive criticism and encouragement to others. They also learn to accept and receive helpful advice, too. Early friendships that are formed through participation in sports sometimes last a lifetime. Even if they do not, they help build skills when it comes to making friends and interacting with others. 

7 Tips for Encouraging Your Child to Participate in Sports 

Here are seven tips to encourage your child to develop a lifelong love of sports and physical activity. 

1. Don’t Force Your Child 

Many parents who played sports in high school or college are excited to spread the joy of their sport to their children. The problem is that your children might not be interested in the same sport, and if you try to force them to do something that they are not interested in, then it is likely to have the opposite effect and turn them away from it. It is important to allow them to explore their interest in sports on their own and find something that appeals to them. 

2. Encourage Them to Try New Things 

It is important to allow your child to explore different interests to find something that they like. That is why opportunities like a safe kids camp are an excellent chance for them to explore different sports activities, so you do not have the expense of buying kids sports equipment for a sport that does not hold their interest. 

3. Attend Games and Show Interest 

One of the most important things you can do as a parent to encourage a love of sports is to attend their games and show your interest. When they come home from practice, ask them how it went. Encourage them to talk about their day, their wins, and their challenges. 

4. Provide Emotional Support 

Everyone who has played sports knows that there are good days and bad days. It is important to provide emotional support and encouragement on the days when things did not go so well for your child. Let them know how hard they are trying and courage them to keep it up. 

5. Use Praise and Avoid Criticism 

The worst mistake a parent can make when trying to encourage participation in sports is to be overly critical. There is a fine line between being critical and offering advice. It is important to make sure that the praise outweighs the criticism. Otherwise, the child will begin to see talking to you about sports as something to be avoided. 

6. Set Realistic Expectations 

Some parents have dreams of their child going on to become collegiate or professional athletes. It is important not to project your goals and dreams onto them. Be realistic about your child’s own goals and skills. They will be more likely to be successful at something they are interested in and are encouraged to participate. Nothing can kill interest in sports quicker than stress over pressure to achieve. 

7. Teach Them to Handle Disappointment 

You can use sports to help your child learn to handle disappointment in a positive way. One of the greatest skills anyone can have is the ability to turn failures into future successes. They need to learn that one loss is not the end of the world, and how to leverage it to improve their skills and learn to do better the next time. 

Summer Day Camp Provides Perfect Environment for Exploring Sports 

Chartwell Happy Day Camp in Marlton, NJ, offers many opportunities for kids between the ages of 3-15 to explore sports and become involved. They can explore in a supervised atmosphere that provides plenty of positive interactions and encouragement. They will have a chance to participate in daily activities that promote physical activity and build positive social interactions. Contact us to explore our program and see if it is right for your child.