Why is sport good for children?

Primary school girls of Trinityhouse Randpark Ridge play netball. Photo: Supplied

Trinityhouse Randpark Ridge shares why playing sport will always be good for a developing child.

Grade 1 teacher at the school, Mariska van der Watt recalled the famous proverb, ‘A healthy mind resides in a healthy body’, adding this was an unavoidable necessity for all, particularly for schoolboys and girls.

“Sports stimulate the physical and mental growth of a child,” she said. “A person who regularly plays sport develops a healthy body, develops better body strength and better coordination.” The physical benefits also include maintaining a healthy weight, preventing chronic diseases and learning the skills necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

She explained the enhancement of the physical and mental development of children was certainly the most important contribution of sport, and the list of values a child may acquire through sport does not just end there. “The positive aspects are numerous, which reveals the true beauty of sport.”

Trinityhouse Randpark Ridge boys play a fun game of rugby. Photo: Supplied

Van der Watt believes sport teaches children the important lesson of team spirit and gives them the experience of working with different kinds of people in different situations. Playing sport enables children to create friendships they otherwise might not have formed. Sports and games can be a great lesson in time management and they provide the spirit of competition that drives them to give extra effort.

“Through sports, children learn to respect authority and rules. Sport increases self-esteem, mental alertness and it reduces stress and anxiety.”

She said good sportsmanship provided guidelines that could be utilised in the classroom. Participation in challenging sports contests teaches children to love challenges and how to function in a competitive society.

“No other thing in life affords children such opportunity to develop positive character traits and to soak up many quality values as sports do.”

Parents and teachers, Van der Watt expressed, must make sports and games fun and participants must play by the rules to set a good example. Viewing games or playing sports together often facilitates emotional bonding and develops a love for the game. As long as a child is involved in sports, they will learn how to overcome obstacles and challenges that come their way.

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