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May 11

Is sport for pre-school children a good thing?

The last thing young children need is another activity to cram in to their already busy schedules. In this day of technology, shouldn’t parents just get them home to watch TV, play a computer games or send an email? To chill out !

Luckily (in hindsight) my parents were very keen for me to get in to sport from a very young age and I fondly remember making frequent trips down the local rugby and football clubs to watch and then later play. I was exposed to the key morals and discipline that comes hand in hand with sport; learning to work as a team, responsibility, independence and of course friendship.

It also introduced me to competition. Competition in young children can be seen as a negative, but it is one of life’s core lessons. Controlled competition is healthy but it must be said that the ‘win at all costs’ approach is destructive. Rugby specifically teaches children, even from a very young age, to respect their opponents with the obligatory “three cheers” and handshakes all round.

And let’s not forget the key ingredient for all this; health.

In a recent NHS survey, doctors found 17% of boys and 16% of girls aged between 12 and 15 are classed as either overweight or obese – these figures in my mind are far too high.

It’s claimed that nearly three quarters of children are not getting the recommended 60 minutes of daily activity outside of school. By gently introducing sport to young children those statistics can be radically improved.

I can’t put it better than sports psychologist and Clinical Assistant Professor at the NYU Child Study Centrein America:

“Research has shown that sport contributes to psychological well-being by reducing anxiety and depression and enhancing self-esteem. In sport, kids find a social milieu that can promote a spirit of social interaction, cooperation and friendship. Sport helps kids think critically and solve problems, build self-discipline, trust, respect for others, leadership and coping skills, all of which form the foundation of character building. Sport has also been shown to improve academic and occupational outcomes, lower school dropout and deter delinquency. And, of course, sport develops the mind/body connection by strengthening the body and training the mind to use it for action and reaction.”

And all this is gained in a watertight safety conscious environment.

Is sport for pre-school children a good thing?

Hard to say ‘no’.  Tell us what you think and what sports activities your kids are involved in

From guest blogger: Luke Walden  Munchkin Sports Ltd   www.munchkinsportsltd.com

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