The Young Athlete.
Sports are an important aspect of human lives. The development of physical movements to organized activities is by far one of the greatest human achievement. Sports helps us maintain physical and mental wellbeing. It builds confidence and reduces inhibitions. An early inclination towards sports can help children develop physical and social skills while
improving their self-esteem. From the age of two to five, toddlers are trying to master many basic movements and coordination. As organized plays do not provide specific long terms benefits, it is advised to engage kids in unstructured play which have many health benefits. Ares of key focus are; running, dancing, climbing, kicking, etc. Let us go a little further into the importance of sports in a toddler’s life. Sports;
- Provides an important learning environment:
Studies show that children involved in sports perform better academically. The environment they play in provides scope for understanding concepts through physical play. For instance, the concept of gravity in very simple terms can be explained through ball games.
- Reduces stress and irritability: Toddler who are more active are less fretful. Energy directed toward physical play
helps them improve concentration levels and maintain a good sleeping pattern. It increases physical and mental wellbeing.
- Inculcate discipline:
Sports requires teamwork, cooperation which instils moral principles in kid’s character. They learn to obey rules and respect authority, colleagues and opponents.
- Several Health Benefits:
Sports helps in reducing chances of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. Toddler’s inclination towards sports might help him become an active adult. Moderate physical activities have shown to improve children’s physical and emotional health.
Sports also represents freedom in some sense. The most awaited hour in school for most kids is the sports hours. Our personal experience of disappointment with sports hours being reduced as we went higher the school hierarchy is the proof of what sports
represents. It is therefore important to give your toddler enough freedom to pick from buffet of different sports. This buffet could include the following activities:
1) Soft Ball Games: Soft or play balls are very engaging. You can play catch-catch, football, throwball, basketball with these soft balls. Factory made sets of these games make it easier to play and are generally safe.
2) Dancing: Dancing is fun and can be done just about anywhere. Dancing leaves a positive impact on any party involved. You can play any beat and dance along with your toddler as it relieves tension and stress.
3) Cycling: Cycling at that age is done with the help of training wheels. It is fun, engaging and tiring. Toddlers are intrigued by cycles so they will ride them around even in the house.
4) Walking/Running/Jumping: Most of our childhood was spent playing Indian games like Lagori, Hopscotch, Kho-Kho, Chor-Sipahi, etc. These games were not only fun but also very engaging. Toddlers should be exposed to these childhood games which have several health benefits.
Toddlers should not indulge in sports for competition, success or for meeting unrealistic goals. They are too young to take any form of game seriously. Sports should only be used as a tool for developing physical and intellectual skills. Let your child explore and accept the ways of a game before making it a part of their everyday life.