The image of children sitting cooped up in a classroom, waiting for the final bell that ends the school year and kick starts summer has been frequently shown on film and television. Some of us may even remember the feeling from our childhoods. One more bell and we could replace sitting at our desks all day with running, playing, swimming and so forth. The world was our oyster!
It is comforting to think that children these days feel the same way, but quite frankly, the statistics show that this is not the case. Though today kids are certainly still excited for that bell, instead of rushing off to play outside, they are likely heading towards their televisions, computers and playstations.
In fact, the most sedentary time for today’s youth is when they are not in school. Without walking to school, school mandated physical education and school sponsored sports teams and clubs…children are simply not getting an appropriate amount of exercise.
One great way to encourage your children to play is by enrolling them in extracurricular athletics, such as tennis lessons.
In addition to the obvious physical benefits inherent in an active lifestyle, enrolling children in extra-curricular sport presents a number of other advantages.
Benefits of Enrolling Children in Extra-Curricular Sports
1) Create new friendships
To start, children can develop a sense of community and belonging separate from that which they get at school or at home. By interacting with their peers during tennis lessons and courses can, a child becomes a part of something new, and is given an opportunity to make new friends.
Having a social circle outside of the school yard can work wonders for a developing child’s self esteem. This is particularly true for shy or quiet kids, who may find it easier to interact with others via a shared interest (like tennis). It can also be beneficial for children who unfortunately may find themselves bullied at school.
2) Foster independence
Joining a club or team can also help foster independence in youngsters. Many kids in Hong Kong, particularly younger ones, only know two realities – the one where they are in school, and the one where they are attached to the hip of a parent!
Giving a child some time where they are not being supervised by a parent can really work wonders on their sense of freedom. As school does with teachers, extra-curricular programs provide coaches and instructors to supervise children and ensure that they remain safe and well behaved. However, unlike school, sports are not a chore and children are sure to have a lot of fun playing.
3) Develop new skills
Extra-curricular sport also provides children with the opportunity to develop new skills and to process new information. It can even encourage children to practice and play on their own time. As their abilities improve, so too does their confidence.
The mental, social and physical benefits gained from participating in sport outside of school are numerous, and can impact your child positively as they grow into adults.