Hi there hope you are starting off your Monday with some gusto. As I was pondering what to share with you this week the thought of kids activities came into my mind. I have been struggling with their time tables because my hubby had signed them up for so many activities.
I have three Kids, my oldest is relatively independent, he has his driving licence and is able to get himself from point A to B his passion sport is basketball . My daughter is 10 and she is into gymnastics and now Taekwando, my younger son is 7 and he is into Soccer and Taekwando. Balancing school and all these activities requires a lot of time and organization. We also have to deal with a lot of drama in trying to get my youngest one ready for these activities. As much as it requires a lot of work on our part I wouldn’t have it any other way. When I was growing up we never had such opportunities. We went to school and came back home to do homework and if we were lucky we got to play outside with our friends. We did sports at School as part of Physical Education. There wasn’t a lot of emphasis placed on sports our focus was academics. As a consequence I push more of the academic angle for my kids but I also see the value in encouraging them to try out different activities in the hope they will find that one sport that they will fall in love with. Here are a few of the reasons why I find it is good to encourage sports.
Time Management:Having my kids in after school activities has helped them start to develop great time management skills. They have to balance their school work and attending activities. Since they are in activities that they actually enjoy I am able to use that as a negotiation chip. If they don’t get their work done and maintain a certain grade they get taken out of their activity. This has worked like a charm, they come home, have snacks and get on with their homework. This way they are able to to to their activities after they are done with their homework, they come home exhausted and get a good night’s sleep.
Social Skills: Having my kids in after school activities has certainly helped them develop their social skills. It has given them the opportunity to develop friends outside of school as well as interact with their coaches. My older son who plays basketball has played on different travel ball teams and has been able to develop some great networks with his coaches. His work ethic and ability to communicate has afforded him opportunities that he would have otherwise missed out on.
Teamwork: Depending on the Sport, after school activities also help teach our kids the importance of teamwork. They soon realize that in order to achieve a certain goal i.e win they have to rely on their team mates. It is more or less impossible to win at a team sport if you don’t work as a team. Teamwork also helps with the communication aspect of personal growth. They somehow have to figure out how to get their points across in order to come to a mutual plan on how they can win at a sport. When they are younger the focus is mainly on participation but as they grow order they get more competitive and start to think bigger. Teamwork skills they learn through sports are those that they can easily use as they grow older.
Health and Fitness: I am sure we have all had the importance of exercise drilled into us by our Doctors or significant others. Whether we pay heed to this or not is a different story. Having our kids in a sport actually benefits them as they are able to get some exercise in. Our kids are not as fortunate as we were. I used to run around the neighbourhood and get a lot of exercise in that way. We have to find other creative ways of getting our kids to exercise because of the safety aspect of things. We are all not fortunate enough to leave in safe neighbourhoods and I like to make sure my kids are safe when they God outside to play. I therefore turn down some of their requests to to play outside because at time I am busy working on a deadline and I am not able to watch them play outside. Having them in after school activity gives me a sense of reassurance as I know that they are at least getting some form of exercise 2 to 3 times a week.
Passion and Fun: One thing I have learned through having my oldest find a passion sport is that kids actually end up having lots of fun which helps with their mental health. They treat it as fun time….only of they enjoy and are passionate about the sport that you have them signed up for. I learned that the opposite can be true. My son used to like swimming when he was doing it for fun. I therefore signed him up on a swimming team that required all season training 5 days a week. Needless to say the fun soon changed to dread and he begged me to take him out of the team. He now passionately plays basketball on his own terms and I don’t have to force him to go to practice. At the same time I can use it to get him to work hard in school. I simply say if you can’t maintaintain a decent GPA you can kiss basketball good bye and that strategy worked through out his high school career. My daughter is passionate about gymnastics and she has lots of fun with it. She is such a highly motivated individual both academically and in gymnastics I am therefore reassured she will do all she can to achieve what she puts her mind on. At age 10 she has decided she will get a gymnastics scholarship and study medicine at UCLA. To that I say write down the goal and we will figure out the plan.
So come back here in 6 years time to see where my daughters goals have taken her. In the meantime I encourage you all to stop, Take a Breath, and encourage those kids to find their passion sport.
With Love and Gratitude
Dr Fatsani Dogani