The UK is in midst of a very special summer of sport! As the heatwave continues to grip the nation in bright, warm rays, sporting events have taken over national (and international) shores and we’ve been loving every second of it. From watching animated Wimbledon matches to sitting on the edge of our seats during World Cup penalties, keeping up with the big games is exciting and feel as though it’s brought the whole nation closer. Yet, whilst it’s always fun to watch sports, even better is the taking part… especially when it comes to little ones! Research shows that for young children participation in sports has several benefits. As well as stimulating healthy growth, regular physical activity relieves little ones of stress, anxiety and has been shown to improve skills such as reading and memorisation.
Nevertheless, as wonderful as sports is, it can be difficult to know where to get started with introducing kids to new activities. So if this summer, you’re hoping to nurture your little Beckham or Serena to sporting glory, we’ve got you covered with our top tips:-
With so many to choose from, it can be overwhelming for parents to know which sports are best suited to their little ones. In their confusion, many parents often make the innocent assumption that because they love an activity, their little ones are likely to enjoy it too but in actual fact this is often not the case. Children tend to have their own personal interests and it is important that these are factored in when choosing which activities to get them involved in. Then, when considering sporting clubs, we suggest asking to attend a trial day first to allow your little one a chance to test out the sport, make some friends and just generally make sure it’s something they truly enjoy. We also recommend trying a diverse range of activities – since there are so many to choose from, you may find your little one takes a liking to a sport your less familiar with… fencing anyone?
The saying goes, “a sportsman is only as good as his tools”… well it doesn’t really but it should because it’s true! Having the correct sports equipment when taking part in activities is not just essential to a good performance but also and more importantly, it ensures health and safety. Specifically, hand-eye coordination is a complex learning process and it is likely that in their early days of taking up a sport, little ones will occasionally lose grasp of this skill, taking slight bumps and accidental tumbles. Whilst these won’t be anything to worry about, ensuring their always geared out to protection, means you won’t have to worry. Most sporting clubs, will inform you early on which equipment is essential to your game but for any extra information you require a little Google is sure to to give you the full idea. As well as ensuring you have the correct equipment, try to ensure it is in good quality as this is essential to it being able to provide maximum protection.
Whilst exciting, starting a new sport is also intimidating and little ones are sure to have some natural nerves early on. To help them adjust, why not get involved where you can? Volunteer to help assist training sessions, make sure to attend games and performance, help them practice when they’re at home, anything that shows your commitment and excitement at them taking part. Not only is this a lovely way for you to get some extra time with your little one but seeing you embrace sports, is likely to reassure any first fears they may have.
The longer they take part in sporting activities, the more little ones are likely to achieve some wonderful milestones… their first goal, their first dance performance and much much more. All these moments will be incredibly special for you both and will create memories you’re sure to treasure for a lifetime. But whilst the big moments are lovely, we think it’s important to always celebrate the small wins too. Whether it’s managing to put on their sports kit for the first time by themselves or helping their teacher to tidy up after they’ve finished a lesson, making the most of the small moments is sure to boost little ones confidence and encourage them to understand that more than competition and winning, sports are about co-operation, perseverance and fun!