As children get into first grade and beyond, it is kind of a miracle when you see them already performing and competing in sports. It is at this point that a child’s attention span and their ability to focus on a task of skill is getting a nice awakening.
Sports and activities with inherent skills force a child’s brain to learn at a rapid pace. There is split-second decision-making, and this helps in the maturation of transitional skills.
Practicing Eye-Hand Coordination
Most sports, especially team sports, involve a lot of eye-hand coordination. These activities are excellent for developing this type of coordination, because this is how we learn to trust our hands without looking at them. These sports include tennis, baseball, softball, or racquetball.
These sports actually help the child develop physical skills that are essential in life. These skills are later applied in everything from driving a car to performing manual tasks.
Learning the Strategy of Games
Learning how to play sports also teaches children how to strategize and adapt to the situation in the moment. Let children progress at their own pace, and permit them to practice and get better at their skills – all while also learning tactical skills.
Albeit best done in short spurts when children are young, basketball is a good game to play with young kids since the game comprises four 15-minute quarters. Even soccer has quarters that last about 15 minutes. This helps kids to focus for relatively long periods, yet it also offers a break within a reasonable time frame.
A child’s level of mental acuity may have to catch up with their physical skills. When these two aspects do come together, it provides an excellent baseline for teaching them even more high-level mental skills such as how to lose and how to win. Learning these lessons will help the child throughout life.
Types of Games and Sports by Age Group
For children ages 2-5, unstructured free play is usually the best type of activity to encourage. They can run and climb, tumble and catch, but they typically are not yet ready for organized sports.
As their attention span and focus improve, their basic physical skills have also become better. Between ages 6-9, organized activities like soccer, gymnastics, tennis, swimming, and even martial arts will help teach children how to focus and how to respond.
For kids who are between the ages of 10-12, they have learned how to play a game and how to implement a strategy. Children at this age are ready physically to play hockey, football, basketball, and soccer – they have mastered the fundamentals.
What Is the Best Sport for My Child?
If your child wants to participate in a sport, play with them and encourage them. They will be naturally attracted to a sport in which they may excel. Even watch the professional version of it on TV together, and talk about what makes the best athletes the best.
Talk about how the most decorated athletes have not only excellent physical ability, but also skill, strategy, creativity, attitude, focus, and a love of the sport. This can segue into passion for your profession and what they might like to do when they grow up, too. Talk about their favorite classes in school. It becomes excellent bonding time with your child.
Children’s Doctors in Northern Massachusetts
If your child is interested in becoming involved in sports, contact our team at Children’s Health Care today for a physical. All professional sports teams and athletes have doctors who ensure they are in top physical shape, and your child should likewise be checked to ensure their body is ready.
The doctor will perform a checkup to ensure that your child is healthy enough to play sports and is mentally prepared for the rigors of competition. Call us today in Haverhill at (978) 373-6557 or in Newburyport at (978) 465-7121, or fill out our appointment request form online now. Let us help you and your young athlete get a great head-start!