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The Many Benefits of Team Sports

Many parents want their children to participate in team sports because it gives kids a chance to get off the sofa and move around. We all know there are many health benefits to participating in sports, but did you also know there are several mental benefits as well? Team sports reward cooperative play and promote good sportsmanship, acceptance by others, and, of course, teamwork. Plus, the positive feedback that is associated with sports will help build your child's self-esteem. Don't forget the old adage 'there's no "I" in "Team."' Encourage your child to play as part of a team.

Encourage team sports play by:

  • Attending a fair amount of their games and talking to your child afterwards.
  • Let your child know what he did well and, sometimes, what he could use some help with (i.e., giving other kids a chance or how to best support his teammates).
  • Have realistic expectations of your child. It may be hard to not get caught up in the idea of having your child be the "superstar" of the team, but realize that every child deserves the chance to play. There will be plenty of time for stiffer competitive play in just a few years.
  • Learn about the sport your child is playing and offer to practice with him. This will help give you the opportunity to address some of your concerns. Let your child talk about the experiences he goes through on and off the field.
  • Give your child emotional support and positive feedback.
  • Help your child handle disappointments and losing and make sure you're a positive role model.
  • Encourage your child to have FUN!

Team sports encourage fun, healthy lifestyles and provide your child with the tools he will need to take on challenges later in life. However, just because your child is part of a team doesn't mean he doesn't need your support as well. Don't forget to be there for your child through wins and losses and offer encouraging advice. You want your child to benefit from being part of a team, so teach him the best way to become a fair player