Sept. 9, 2013
There are plenty of youth sports and activities available to children in this day & age. That being said, a good question to be asked would be “Yes, but how are they going to help my child?” According to Marianne Engle, Ph.D., a noted sports psychologist and former Clinical Assistant Professor at the NYU Child Study Center, sports and activities are good for kids for a number of reasons.
- Sports specifically help physical development by building up muscles, bones and brains. Reflexes are quickened and flexibility is improved. They also keep kids fit and healthy.
- Cognitive and academic development are enhanced. Research shows that kids involved in activities have better grades and time management. In addition, they are better able to multitask (thinking while their bodies are engaged in something else) and process various kinds of information simultaneously. Further, they are more likely to finish high school and college.
- Activities help psychological development. This is due to higher self-esteem, and lessened anxiety and depression.
- Social development is enhanced, especially with sports. Team building and leadership skills are developed. Friends are formed, and different cultures and backgrounds are introduced. Kids also become acquainted with social rules and roles.
- Character development is heightened. Goals are able to be defined, wins are accomplished and losses are dealt with. Kids will realize the value of working to meet their goals and working to accomplish a win. They learn how to persist and cope with losses by setting and meeting higher standards. They are introduced to moral values and contribute to their communities.
A great article on this topic would be “Kids and Sports: Creating A Healthy Experience for Every Child” by Marianne Engle, Ph.D. For great programs to put your child in, contact the Wayne County YMCA at (570) 253-2083, or visit us online at ymcawayne.com.