For kids (and all of us, really), life can be an aggregation of anxiety and stress. It’s full of social and academic pressures. Children and teens seek an oasis from this drudgery just like we do. Often they turn to tiny screens filled with social media, video games, or whatever their favorite apps happen to be. Those distractions aren’t necessarily bad things, but suggesting activities such as sports and literacy can have a big impact on how your child develops and create lifelong habits for them.
Strangely enough, it seems like sports and literacy are often pitted against one another. It’s the nerd versus jock stereotype, right? But in actuality, they can go hand in hand and help to build similar habits. The benefits of these two facets of life are numerous, but I’m going to detail some of my favorites:
Sports can develop or round out many different social skills. Teamwork, participation, effort, practice, dedication, communication – I feel like I could go on and on. These skills won’t be limited to the playing field either. They will use them in school and in their careers.
Exercise is an obvious one, but it is crucial to kid’s lives:
- Higher activity rates in children are correlated with higher test scores.
- Exercise lowers the risk of many diseases and obesity.
- Frequent exercise decreases symptoms of depression and anxiety in children.
Athletics are competitions and in competitions, there are usually winners and losers. Sports can help kids learn how to cope with the fact that life is not perfect and sometimes you might lose or fail. Often times, those moments are the ones where we learn the most and motivate us to improve.
Walk In Someone Else’s Shoes
The world of literature is filled with characters with different stories and worldviews. Connecting with these characters who have different values or perspectives and seeing that these characters are just like the reader produces empathy for others that kids might not get otherwise. Often times these experiences might not come unless you can travel the globe. The good news is that going to your local library is more affordable than traveling the world.
Reading outside of the formal classroom is a large boon to your child’s learning. It will boost their vocabulary and make them more comfortable with school texts. Research indicates that when children are reached with high quality early learning experiences, they are 40% less likely to fall behind in school and 70% more likely to graduate from high school.
Health can be a key benefit of reading, too. But perhaps it is less obvious than in sports. Reading has been shown to improve memorization. Getting engrossed in a story also reduces stress or anxiety. Creating a bedtime ritual of reading will also aid in sleep.
The great thing about sports and literacy is that you can start building passion and habits for them right now. It is as easy as heading to your local library, turning off the TV, reading to your kids, or going outside to play kick a soccer ball as a family.