Fall is quickly approaching, which brings a busy time for parents and their children. You may be in the midst of deciding if you have time to put your children in sports this school year. It sounds a bit daunting, right? How are we supposed to have time to fit organized sports into the busy schedule of school, homework, and dinner? Rest assured the benefits of having your child on the field will outweigh any schedule unease.

Let us talk about the obvious benefits of childhood sports first: physical fitness. Studies have shown that involvement in sports reduce the risk of developing obesity and other related illnesses (diabetes, heart conditions, high blood pressure, ect.) Exercise will aide in healthy growth of bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons. Children show improved coordination, mental health, sleep, grades, and relaxation techniques. When people learn to have good physical fitness in childhood, they are more likely to carry these habits over into adulthood. Regular exercise is also known to reduce the risk of emotional problems such as anxiety and depression. The American Heart Association recommends children to get at least 60 minutes of vigorous activity daily. Is your child getting this without playing a sport?

Playing in a team sport will foster social skills. Children will learn how to work together and develop leadership skills. Players grow confidence by working hard. They learn the exhilaration of winning; how to cope with losing; and discipline to reach goals. Not only in sports, but also in life, having discipline helps you achieve success. It also teaches you that not everything will be a victory and you have to work harder next time. Kids similarly learn to have respect for their coaches; this will help them in the future when interacting at home or school. Lastly, friendships are built in teams.

Parents benefit from youth sports too. It is a social setting to interact with like-minded adults. It gives you more avenues to interact with your child, to talk to them about commitment and hard work. Practicing the sport with your child will help increase your physical fitness. You can walk or run the field while your child is at practice. Or if we are being honest, when they are older, it gives you an hour to “get things done”.

Needless to say, sports will give you and your children numerous benefits. Find out which sports are enrolling today at your child’s school or city website.