of distracting devices that consume their time and energy. Video games, cell phones, computers
and other electronic devices can occupy hours of time for your teenagers and younger kids.
However, you do not have to sit idly by and let your kids wither away their best years. By
encouraging your children to participate in sports, you can encourage healthy habits in your kids
that can last for years.
Physical Benefits of Participating in Sports
Regularly participating in sports can provide many benefits. In addition to getting your kids to
meet new friends and learn leadership and teamwork skills, participating in sports provides many
health benefits. These activities also help kids develop healthy habits while they are younger and
encourage long-term participation in physical activity. Research has also indicated that a child's
psychological health can be positively affected when he or she plays in sports. Kids' levels of
depression and anxiety are reduced when they participate in sports. Playing sports also help kids
develop higher self-esteem.
Other Benefits of Participating in Sports
Kids who participate in sports on a regular basis may have a higher likelihood of having good
grades in school. Additionally, kids may develop a better relationship with their parents if they
participate in the sport with their kids or cheer for them on the sidelines. Kids can also develop
skills that can help them in other facets of their life. They can learn important lessons and
develop characteristics, such as cooperation, respect for others, leadership, higher level thinking
and self-discipline. Children that participate in sports are linked with a lower high school dropout
rate and a higher rate of deterrence for delinquency. Girls who participate in sports are less likely
to get pregnant while young and are more likely to wait longer for their first sexual encounter.
Many children in the United States enjoy playing sports. Approximately 20 million kids between
the ages of six and 16 play sports outside of school. About 25 million kids in the same age group
play competitive school sports.
If your child wants to participate with other kids around his or her age, there are several options.
The most popular sports for kids between the ages of six and 17 are basketball, baseball, soccer,
touch football and volleyball. However, there are other sports that kids might enjoy in which
they can work together as a team. For example, a swim team, dance team or rugby team might be
perfect for your child. Bowling is another activity that many kids enjoy and bowling alleys often
help leagues form to compete against each other.
If your child does not want to participate in a team sport, he or she may still enjoy other sports.
Biking, golfing and swimming allow a child to participate as an individual or in a team.
Age to Participate
It is never too early to start teaching kids about sports and physical activities. More organized
sports may form by the time that a child is four or five years old.
Where to Find Sport Leagues
Sports leagues are established in a variety of places. Kids may be able to join sports teams at
their schools. Kids can also participate in community leagues that may not have as large of an
emphasis on winning as school sports. Kids can also potentially participate in sports at churches
or other religious centers. Community centers and related organizations often offer sports teams
and opportunities for kids. Parents may also want to gather sports equipment together to practice
or play sports at the home.
Key to Success
In order to successfully implement sports into a child's life, it is important to choose a sport that
he or she has a real interest in. It is not about choosing a sport that the parent participated in or
enjoys. This may require thinking outside the box, such as considering a sport like badminton or
archery. In the end, your kid will be happy, active and encouraged to try out other activities that
can help lead to a healthy lifestyle in the future.
Ron Thompson writes for Del-Immune V®, a unique probiotic supplement made from the
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