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Monday 11 March 2024

6 Reasons to Get Your Toddler Interested in Sports and Athletics

It may already seem obvious that regular physical activity benefits young children, but current research is digging deeper on just how much of an impact it makes. A recent study by Brujins et al, published in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, found that children who were introduced to physical activities when they were toddlers exhibited significantly better health outcomes and cognitive performance than their less active peers. 
6 reasons to get your child interested in sports and athletics

Many institutions across Asia have demonstrated their commitment to nurturing young talents through sports and athletics, knowing how much it matters to kids’ holistic development. In Kinderland Singapore, for example, they have a special program called KinderFit where young learners are encouraged to participate in sports and athletic activities that contribute to their overall wellness. To see KinderFit in action, as well as other activities that are meant to strengthen toddlers’ holistic growth, parents can check out Kinderland Singapore’s Facebook page and Kinderland Singapore’s official YouTube channel. 

Your approach, as well as that of early childhood educators who will work with you, is critical for the well-rounded development of your toddler. If you’re thinking about enrolling your child in a school where active play is highly valued, or signing them up for a sports clinic or club, here are a few more reasons you should do so as early as now: 

1) It Enhances Their Motor Skills and Physical Development

According to the World Health Organization, children aged 1-4 should engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity per day, which is crucial to developing their motor skills and boosting their overall physical health. Sports and athletics will provide a structured avenue for meeting these recommendations and help your child maintain a healthy weight, thus reducing their risk of chronic diseases later in life. Encourage them to make physical activity a habit through their favourite sport, and they are sure to grow stronger and healthier in their early childhood years. 

2) It Helps Them Build Meaningful Social Interactions 

Team sports like basketball, football, and volleyball can all encourage your child to develop vital social skills that they’ll need in order to collaborate well with other people. Even if you enrol them in sports where they’ll compete by themselves, they’ll still have to learn how to interact respectfully with other players and with staff like their coaches. 

Early exposure to sports and athletics can help toddlers learn the importance of teamwork, cooperation, and fair play, as well as how to communicate with peers and support one another in a competitive, yet friendly setting. These early experiences in socialisation will lay the groundwork for building strong interpersonal skills, which will be invaluable in every aspect of their lives. 

3) It Promotes Discipline and Respect

At their core, sports and athletics activities entail adhering to the rules of a game, taking instructions from coaches, and learning to respect opponents and officials. All of these will instil an understanding of structure and a sense of discipline in young children, and they’ll also learn for themselves how to pay respects to the people in their sport. This discipline will go beyond the playing field and positively influence their overall character and behaviour.

4) It Will Boost Their Confidence and Self-Esteem

There will be few defining moments for your toddler that are quite like scoring their first goal or winning an award for their sport. Such moments of triumph in sports can significantly boost their self-esteem and confidence. 

Your toddler will also gain a profound sense of accomplishment and self-worth when they contribute to their team and achieve personal milestones in their activities. This positive reinforcement will encourage them to tackle new challenges eagerly and make them more willing to continue pursuing their sport. 

Moreover, the encouragement and support they get from you, their coaches, and their teammates can facilitate a nurturing environment that amplifies their belief in their abilities and in themselves. For that reason, it’s worth the extra money and time to enrol your toddler in the sport or athletics activity of their choice. 

5) It Stimulates Their Cognitive Development

When your child engages in sports and athletic activities, their physical development is not the only domain that’s being nurtured. Their cognitive development progresses too. The American College of Sports Medicine reported that children who regularly participate in physical activities demonstrate improved attention spans and perform better academically. 

Participating in sports requires children to think on their feet and develop strategies, which sharpens their cognitive flexibility and executive functions. You’ll find that their enrolment in sports may enhance your child’s problem-solving abilities, decision-making skills, and concentration in the classroom.

6) It Encourages Your Toddler to Have Fun in Healthy Ways

Again, toddlers who are introduced to sports at an early age tend to lead more active lifestyles growing up. There’s also a higher chance that they’ll develop a positive perspective on physical fitness. Encouraging your child to participate in athletics and sports will stoke their desire to stay active and prevent them from falling into the temptation of excessive screen time. The healthy outlet for their curiosity and energy can make a significant difference in their overall growth.  

Prioritising Your Child’s Holistic Development Through Engagement in Sports and Athletics

Think of your toddler’s involvement in sports and athletics as a long-term investment for their holistic development—an investment that will pay dividends in the form of a well-rounded, confident, and healthy child. Whichever sport or physical activity you and your toddler eventually decide they should practise, you’ll be making a good decision either way. 

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