Playing sports can help kids succeed in life
Playing sports can offer a host of physical benefits for kids, and new research suggests that being active can also help children develop positive life skills.
There may be a correlation between a child’s attention span, level of self-control and their participation in organized, after-school sports, according to a recent study led by Linda Pagani of the University of Montreal and its affiliated CHU Sainte-Justine Children’s Hospital.
“There is something specific to the sporting environment – perhaps the unique sense of belonging to a team to a special group with a common goal – that appears to help kids understand the importance of respecting the rules and honoring responsibilities,” Pagani said in a news release.
The study was conducted by comparing children’s extracurricular activities with their classroom engagement.
By taking other factors taken into consideration such as a child’s level of physical fitness, cognitive abilities, mother’s education and communication at home with the family, researchers found that those involved in sports in kindergarten were likely to be involved in sports four years later. These children also had higher self-control scores at age 10.
“By the time they reached fourth grade, kids who played structured sports were identifiably better at following instructions and remaining focused in the classroom,” Pagani said.
“Being on a team can teach skills that go beyond the field and into the classroom,” says Dr. Gabrielle Roberts, clinical psychologist at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill. “Team participation can help to foster social skills, cooperation, self-discipline and an overall understanding of rules and structure.”
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