The Many Benefits of Children Playing a Team Sport
Outside of the classroom, one of the best ways to teach a child the value of collaboration and how to get along well with others is through team sports. Along with the sheer joy of hitting that first home run or making that first goal, playing a team sport is a wonderful way to help a child enjoy being physically fit. But how does a parent or caregiver choose the right sport for their child? And at what age should a child begin to play on a team?
First, let’s look at the many positive aspects of a child playing team sports:
Self-Esteem: Team sports not only help children feel better physically, they can help a child with emotional and mental development. In turn, these benefits help a child build self-esteem, feel pride in learning new skills and find fun in competitive play. Kids can also learn the value of practice and how working hard to master a task can work in other areas of their life.
Teamwork and Leadership Development: One of the best ways to get along with others is to work together as a team and team sports is one of the most natural ways to work together toward a common goal. In every team, there’s also the opportunity for leadership skills to develop, skills that can help a child do well in school and in all areas of life.
Healthy habits: The physical benefits of team sports are obvious and can help a child see and feel the value of being physically fit. Also, active play can be a stress reliever and helps kid deal with the normal challenges of childhood. And don’t forget that team sports should be about having fun—one of the best parts of being a child.
At what age should a child start playing sports?
Although sports can be enjoyed by children of all ages, toddlers and pre-school aged children are a little too young to begin team sports. For younger children, sports should not be so much about competition but ideally concentrate on being an opportunity for physical activity and fun.
Most experts agree that, ideally, kids should first begin team sports around age 6 or 7. This is the time when most children have the physical and developmental skills as well as the attention span that team sports demand. Parents and caregivers should remember that kids will need to understand the rules of the game to play. And when choosing what type of sports league for a child to play on, make sure it’s a league that emphasizes a fun, positive experience that emphasizes safety at all levels.
One last thing to keep in mind is that, despite adult encouragement, some kids simply may not be interested in playing team sports. Some may prefer individual sports like tennis, karate, dancing or swimming—while others may not be interested in traditional sports at all. Sports or no sports, the important thing is to encourage a child to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, even if it’s simply walking, dancing or doing chores around the house.
For more information on the benefits of team sports for children, visit https://www.activekids.com/soccer/articles/7-benefits-of-team-sports-for-kids.
For information on sports safety tips for children, visit https://www.safekids.org/tip/sports-safety-tips.
Visit abcquality.org to learn more about child care and development, search for ABC Quality approved child care provider and learn about the state’s voluntary quality rating system. ABC Quality is administered by the SC Department of Social Services’ Division of Early Care and Education.
By ABC Quality Team on February 18, 2020