5 Ways Sports Can Help Improve Your Kid Social Skills

Did you know about all the non-physical benefits sports can have on your kid? Although it’s clear how inseparable mental health and physical activity are, most of the time we probably underestimate how involvement in sports improves social skills of children on all levels. Here are some ways it is being done:

1. Communication

Communication is a basic skill required in every society. There is no better way for a child to master this skill, but through being a member of a sports collective.

Team sports such as soccer, volleyball, baseball, or softball call for a constant exchange of information between players. Once this habit is developed, it helps your kid learn to be a team player, but also how to work well with others, no matter the circumstance.

A boost of confidence that children receive through sport, improves all the aspects of communication – the way they speak to people, but also their posture, appearance and overall perception of the others.


2. Purpose

Not many kids know what they will be when they grow up. Or at least, can’t make up their mind! Sport is ideal for children to get to know themselves, the qualities they have and what they’re capable of. It’s the best way for them to find out what suits them best: to be leaders or role players?

Accomplishing goals in the sport will help your kid set himself or herself life goals. And the youngster will have a great chance for success as the determination to succeed gets increased through sports activity. The sense of proud for their achievements in sport gives children purpose and something to strive for.

Sports are very important for the psychological well-being of children, according to Marianne Engle, sports psychologist, and clinical assistant professor, with the New York University Child Study Center.

It helps kids to overcome problems with low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression and relieves them of stress and tension. On the other hand, the sport will bring your kid all-important feelings of self-belief and self-worth.

A study from the University of Florida indicates that kids who participate in sports earn better grades in school. Another study by Women’s Sports Foundation from 2004 brought the conclusion that female high school athletes are less likely to be sexually active, use drugs and suffer from depression compared to non-athlete peers.


3. Team Spirit

Experts warn that many parents can turn a sport into an unhealthy competition for their child. But, if you keep the focus of your kid on the positive side of the sport, that approach will have many great effects.

Keeping in mind that the most important thing is having fun, your kid will have the opportunity to develop some wonderful friendships and gradually become part of a strong group.

Team sports especially help this as they instill a feeling of camaraderie between the youngsters. They learn how to share responsibility and appreciate teamwork. And the more children cooperate, the more they realize all the things that can be accomplished with a powerful team spirit.


4. Assertiveness

Knowing how stand-up for yourself and to manage in unpredictable scenarios is also a very important social skill you’d like your child to control. Participation in sports teaches kids how to be assertive which prepares them for later life.

Another big asset of team sports is that they give kids perfect examples of the difference between being aggressive and being assertive. Sport is the best way for your child to practice dealing with conflict situations.

Through training and tactical preparations, but also during games and matches, kids improve their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills in order to surmount the obstacles they face.
Self-discipline is another precious virtue your kid can obtain through sports and carry on throughout the life. Children also learn how to slowly develop their independence and appreciate its significance.


5. Respect

According to National Association for Sport and Physical Education, once the kids successfully integrate the peer culture from their world of sport, they find it much easier to do in all the other spheres. Their social interaction with peers, but adults too, becomes enhanced.

Children have more respect for them, and the authorities. They begin to understand much better the social values and follow its rules.

Thanks to sport, your kid can also learn how to cope with losses, but as well how to remain humble after a win. This keeps them grounded and their ambition well-balanced. And let’s not forget the fine manners of sportsmanship and fair play they can adopt.

According to Journal of American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry’s research from 2015, among students who exercised 6 to 7 days a week, 25.1% felt sad for two weeks or more in the past year, compared to 35.7% students who exercised only 0 to 1 day.

Of students who regularly exercised 15% reported suicidal ideation and 6.4% attempt of suicide, compared to 24.6% and 10.3% respectively, of those who exercised 0 to 1 day a week.

Parents realize and appreciate the benefits of sports. A 2017 survey by the Siena College Research Institute commissioned by the Aspen Institute showed that 82% of parents in Southeast Michigan think it’s very or somewhat important for their kid to be regularly involved in sports.

Another survey by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard/NPR from 2015 presented the positive traits parents believe playing sports has had for their kids:

  • Physical health (88%),
  • Giving the child something to do (83%),
  • Teaching discipline or dedication (81%),
  • Teaching how to get along with others (78%),
  • Mental health (73%),
  • Social life (65%),
  • Skills to help in future schooling (56%) and
  • Skills to help in a future career (55%).

With your supervision and involvement, sports can have numerous positive influences on your kids’ life. Value of social skills they’ll need every day and character building they can be thought that way is immeasurable. After all, the best way to learn things is through fun and play!