While the Common Wealth has garneredits share of publicity in the recent past, unfortunately it has been more forthe wrong reasons than the right ones! Therefore we thought it only right toleave aside the controversies involved in the country’s first mega-sportingevent and instead, focus on what the games will hopefully highlight andencourage – sports itself! Over the last few years, sports has by and large,taken a back seat in the typical Indian’s life – and more so in the Indianchild’s life! Don’t believe us? Consider this staggering statistic – As many as30 million Indians are overweight, and obesity continues to rise, according tostatistics recently revealed by the National Family Health Survey.
And the problem runs even deeper!Around 20 per cent of school-going children are overweight, and what’s evenworse is that 1 out of every third child in the world is obese today! And wealready know that every 6th person on this planet is an Indian, so you do themath! There is a reason, that the two are related – sports and obesity that is!Or rather the lack of it!
The world our child is growing up intoday is vastly different from the one we grew up in; with entertainment aflick of the remote away, they have far fewer incentives to go out and play.Games such as langdi or pittu, which we played as kids, areslowly becoming extinct. Children today would rather much spend their time onPSPs instead of the basketball court. Even the lifestyle we, as parents,provide is designed to make them physically inactive. Just think back on thelast time your child walked to the market, or climbed up the stairs to yourhouse?
It is now more important than everfor parents to instill sports motivation in their children. Not only is itgreat exercise to keep them healthy, but it also teaches them important andlife long social skills by introducing them to discipline and competition in ahealthy way. And one doesn’t have to wait until the child is a certainage to encourage sports, even at the age of six months, you can give your childsports motivation and the desire to play sports later in life. Look at whatTiger Woods’ father did for him at the age of 2!
Encouraging sports in your child’slife can not only have a significant impact on his/her physical well-being butcan also his/her wholesome development. Here’s a quick run down on how:
1. Discipline – Indulging your child to different sports can introducehim/her early on to the value of a holistic lifestyle. Moreover, indulgencewith sports will open different avenues for healthy eating, exercise, amplerest and having enough sleep. Martial Arts like Karate, Taekwondo and Judo areexamples of sports that can keep your child well disciplined and motivated tolead a healthy life.
2. Teamwork – Most sports are played by two or more persons, in otherwords, sports is a social game wherein your child will get to know how to getalong with other children. A blazing start for your child since in actual workin the real world will necessitate this particular skill. A good team playerknows when to step up and knows how to play the role of a reinforcer when atthe sidelines. Team sports like cricket, football, hockey and basketball caninculcate the essence of being a good team player to your child.
3. Respect – Your child knows the word respect the moment he isimmersed with sports. He/She will learn from the cues handed by his/her coachand will also accept suggestions from his/her teammates. All kinds of sportsinstill the value of respectfulness for your peers, competitors, and teammates.
5. Sportsmanship – We have heard of the saying “You win some, you lose some,it balances out at the end”. Sportsmanship will teach your child this valuablelesson early on in life. Learning how to be humble when defeat is on hand willstand in good stead for your child, who will be better equipped to acceptfailures and mistakes later on in life.
6. Preparation & Determination – Every sport inculcates the values of “practice makesperfect”. Taking up a sport will encourage your child to be perseverant andalso teach him/her the value of pursuing the end goal with hard work andpatience.
7. Competitiveness – Who doesn’t like to win in every aspect of life?Willingness to give an all-out effort, showing grace under pressure and abilityto accept defeat when losing to a better team or a player, are good indicationsof true competitive nature that a well-rounded player can extract from playingsports.
So how can you help your child takeup sports today? Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Make it fun: If it is not fun for the children, they will get bored, and it might be the end of their sporting endeavors. Give your child some choices to help him/her decide the activity that interests him/her the most.
- Choose age appropriate activities: If you start training your two year old to shoot hoops, or start skating, you are more likely to make him/her averse to the sport that he/she could have very well enjoyed later in life. Instead choose sporting activities that are right for his/her age and physical capacity.
- Establish a regular schedule for exercise: Doing this at an early age, whether it’s cycling in the mornings or a swim after school, sets the trend for a lifetime. Just as your child develops habits that stay for life in his/her toddler years, he/she can also be attuned to adopt a favorite sporting activity early on in life.
- Get involved and be a good role model: If you make fitness a priority in your life, your child will learn to make it a priority in his/hers too. Join a local gym together. Many gyms have children’s classes in several different areas, from swimming, tennis, basketball to even dance classes that encourage parent child participation. Make the sporting activity a family event and not a chore that your child has to complete.
Regardless of any future goals orprospects, playing sports should be an enjoyable experience for both the childand the parent. And along the way you can be happy with the assurance that yourtime and investment in encouraging sports in your child’s life will mostcertainly foster lifelong rewards. So how are you being a sport in yourchild’s life?