In our day to day lives, most of the focus goes to mental education when it comes to schooling children, with a small percentage, if any, going towards physical education.
Personally, I grew up an amateur boxer and know first hand that sports and everything that comes with it, such as learning about nutrition, is vital for the healthy growth of an individual.
So what benefits can come from playing sports?
Sports makes us feel good about ourselves, both physically and mentally. Children begin to thrive in environments where sports are present. They make new friends, learn to overcome challenges and gain new skills (physical and mental), they learn how to play in a team or become team leader, learn how to play fair, become more confident and perhaps most important of all: they have fun.
Children will also inevitably begin to learn about their physical bodies, its limits and capabilities. Nutrition plays a vital role in sports, and children who are exposed to physical education, will learn how to keep their bodies healthy, strong and fit from the inside and outside.
Recently, I have set up a children’s charity called Sleijster4Children. It brings to life a strong passion of mine: to bring physical education to less fortunate children.
It saddens me that in less economically developed countries, sports education is often held back from schools due to lack of finances. My goals with this charity is to bring P.E. (physical education) into each and every classroom and teach children the importance of sports. It doesn’t cost much to buy a basketball, and with the smallest of donations, we can build a better world for our children. I believe that kids who are physically active grow up to have stronger mental capabilities and are more likely to succeed later on in life.
Solo or competitive sports?
I feel it is important to develop both kinds of sports. The key here is to be gradual. If a child has never had any exposure to sports and suddenly they are in the middle of a field with balls being thrown at them, they won’t have a good first experience and may shut down. However, if the child is introduced to fun sports, without a strong emphasis on competition at the start, then they can ease into the new lifestyle better.
Of course, there is also a lot of benefits that competitive sports bring us too. For starters, it boosts a child’s self confidence and teaches them how to play well in a team, two characteristics which make up a successful individual. Think of the key phrases new employers always ask for, “good team-player” for example, always comes up.
Rewards, medals and competitions may also come. This will teach the child values such as hard work, motivation and determination.
So I strongly encourage you to bring sports into your child’s life, for not only will they discover new ways to have fun, but they will also learn valuable life lessons and skills.