Benefits of Summer Sports

summer sports

Now that summer break is officially underway, you may already hear the complaints from your children, saying, “We’re bored!” or you’ve started to struggle with a chore chart or have become tired of arguing with your child about how much screen time he or she is having. Summer can be a wonderful change of pace from a busy schedule, it can be a difficult and often times frustrating season. If your child is not already enrolled in a summer sport, here are a few reasons you may want to encourage him or her to participate in a sport:

Exercise

During the school year, your child may be active during the day thanks to physical education classes and time on the playground, however, when summer rolls around it may be more difficult to keep the momentum going when it comes to getting exercise. During the first few weeks of summer, it may be easy to get your kid to the local pool or to take a bike ride, but after awhile he or she may grow bored. If you child is enrolled in a summer sport that he or she enjoys, he or she will get exercise on a regular basis and may be more eager to do more activities outside of practice and games.

Creating a Routine

Although you may want to slow things down in the summer and be a little more spontaneous, creating some kind of a routine is good and will lessen the likelihood of hearing, “What should I do now?” Not only will it provide some structure for your child, but it will make the transition back to the school year much easier.

Socialization and Healthy Competition

Getting involved in any activity provides the perfect opportunity for your child to socialize with peers and extend his or her social circle. During summer break, many children end of spending their free time with the same kids, creating potential boredom and drama, but interacting with new kids is always good for developing and improving social skills.

In addition to socializing, becoming involved in a sport can allow your child to experience healthy competition. Competition, in general, has a bad reputation and many parents are hesitant to place their child in a competitive situation, but when done right it can be beneficial. When a child is engaged in healthy competition, he or she learns how to make a decision quickly, have self-control, maturity and discipline. Additionally, he or she will learn his or her limits, set goals, learn how to handle loss and how to work with others (even during conflict).

A Few Tips for Parents

While there are many benefits to participating in a summer sport, don’t pressure or force your child to join a sport he or she has no interest in. As a parent, it’s important to be involved and present at your child’s sporting event (you can help coach, volunteer, etc.), but be a good role model and be a “good sport”. Far too many parents get too into the game, exhibit a poor attitude, and forget that “it’s just a game”.

Help Your Kids Have a Fun and Meaningful Summer

fun summer for kids

Summer vacation can be a blessing and a curse for many parents. Although there’s plenty of time to spend time with your children, you may also get tired of hearing your kids say, “I’m bored”. Although you may feel like you have a lot of time to plan activities for your child during his or her summer break, three months flies by much quicker than you think. Here are some tips to help your child have a fun, meaningful, and memorable summer:

Create a Routine

During the school year, your children have a daily routine. Why not stick to one in the summertime? Does that mean that your kids should go to bed at the same time every night? Not necessarily, but you should make sure that your children get the recommended amount of sleep each night (school aged children between the ages of 6 to 13 years old need 9 to 11 hours of sleep a night). Not only is a good night’s sleep important for their mood and health, but sticking to a sleep schedule will make your transition to the school year much easier.

Other ways to stick to a routine is by creating a “chore chart” or something that makes your child an active participant in the household. Summer vacation doesn’t need to mean that your child takes a break from his or her responsibilities from caring for the family pet to cleaning his or her room to helping with dinner preparation or dishes.

Limit Screen Time

Most parents will resort to using “screen time” (tv, video games, computer) as bargaining tool at some point. If the day is chaotic, the kids are getting on your nerves, and you just need some quiet time, you may be tempted to offer screen time to create a little peace and quiet. As a parent, the choice is yours, there’s no right or wrong answer. However, be careful how much screen time you offer to your child. On average, children spend about seven hours a day on entertainment devices (phones, tvs, computers, and video games). Consider limiting screen time to a couple hours a day and encourage your child to do other things such as read, crafts, or spend time outdoors.

Encourage and Create Quality Time

Once you have created schedules and set boundaries, it’s time to encourage and create some quality time with your children. Even if you are unable to take time off from your regular work schedule, you can still have quality time with your kids and help them have a meaningful summer. Here are some ideas:

  • Enjoy the outdoors together. Whether you go on a family bike ride, plant a garden, or set up a tent in the backyard, enjoy the summer weather and remember it goes by quickly.
  • Encourage your kids to do something they’ve never done. Attending a camp or a class is a great way for your kids to learn new skills and create new friendships.
  • Set aside a little time every day to spend time with your kids and celebrate the “kid” in you.
  • Don’t forget to have fun and reduce your stress. Although a routine is important, don’t forget to have a little fun and let your kids be kids.