A common worry for parents is how to integrate their children with their peers…
Parents fear that their children might be bullied or rejected or feel discouraged about their abilities.
These are valid concerns, but for every concern in life there should also be a question of how to resolve that concern. And one way to resolve the concerns around children being accepted by their peers is to look into team sports.
Below is an extensive list of the benefits of team sports, one of the most reliable ways of integrating children with their peers.
Team sports help children….
1. Become better leaders.
Inevitably, some children rise up as leaders on their teams. Whether or not it’s your child is besides the point — the important thing is that all children involved, the ones designated as captains or leaders and those who get the least playing time, learn leadership when they play with others.
Leadership is about courage and empathy.
The courage to take a shot at the basket. The courage to challenge the best players on the team. And the empathy to help someone off the ground, or to help another see their potential in the sport.
Children become better leaders with team sports.
2. Learn to communicate.
Any team endeavor requires fantastic communication. Calling plays, playing catch, knowing who’s guarding who…
It all requires that little ones talk. As they learn to be present and communicate both verbally and non-verbally, your children will gain life skills to use in any field.
3. Learn accountability.
It happens to everyone, but no one wants to be the person to miss a shot. No one wants to be late and force everyone else to run extra laps at practice.
When children join a sports team, they learn to be accountable to others. They learn that doing their individual part also helps the whole group.
“Do your job” as Bill Belichick would say.
4. Be on time.
Regardless of age, sports practices and games start and end with or without the players. That’s why team sports will help your children learn to be on time. Going back to accountability, they will learn that others are depending on them.
Later in life, these skills will help them in company meetings, high school, college, HOA meetings, community board meetings… any time a group of people need to gather, your children will be on time.
5. Consider others.
Going back to the leadership quality of empathy, playing team sports helps children consider the welfare of others. At practice some days, they’ll see another child struggling with a drill. Or they might see someone getting picked on or feeling discouraged about their talents. Those moments are opportunities for your child to help their peers experience the greatest benefit of team sports: personal growth.
It’s a beautiful thing to watch.
6. Get exercise.
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of team sports is that children are getting away from a TV or phone screen and into a place where they can exercise! They learn to run and jump and play and be healthy with their peers.
And in a world where childhood obesity is an increasing problem, getting that healthy exercise might be the difference between health problems and healthy living for your child.
Team sports help parents, too
When parents drop their child off at practice or watch them star in a game, it fills them with a sense of pride. It’s a joy to see your child play and participate with others, and that feeling of watching your child thrive might be the most precious benefit of all.
Allowing your child to step into the world with others, engage in competitive games and learn new skills can be unsettling for some. But the benefits almost always outweigh the concerns. You and your little ones will both experience tremendous growth in team sports.