It is suggested that children today get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day, yet that can be tough for some to achieve. Playing youth sports is a great way for kids to get the exercise they need every day. The biggest excuses for not being getting enough exercise are no money, no time or just not being athletic. Let’s take a closer look at each –
Money: Priority will be the key word for this discussion. According to 24/7 Wall St. (Top 10 Things Americans Waste the Most Money On, Feb. 28, 2011) in the ten categories of unnecessary purchases, sports equipment came in 8th. Number one is food away from home, number 3 is television, radio and sound equipment. Even pets and alcohol came in before health at #4 and #7, respectively. At least sports equipment beat tobacco out (#9). Another statistic states that Americans spent $25.3 billion on video games in 2009 (Today’s Gamer Survey by Newzoo and TNS). 54% of kids have a TV in their bedroom (Ibid). Priority. “Sorry son, no money for a baseball glove, but would you like a new video game for the 42″ flat screen in your room?” If you are still wrestling with spending priorities, try thinking of it as buying your child a super-sized helping of self-esteem with a side order of confidence. Always a good ROI.
Time: The average kid spends 4 hours a day watching TV. Children spend more time watching television than in any other activity except sleep. (Houston and Wright, University of Kansas, “Television and Socialization of Young Children). Conclusion: your child has enough time. Alright, but what about the parent that needs to get them to practice and games? Consider: You have the same amount of time that everyone else on the planet has. 24 hours every day, no more, no less. You can’t buy extra no matter how rich you are and no one can take it away from you no matter how poor you are. How you choose to manage those hours is up to you. Again, priority. Do the things that fill your hours all take a higher priority than your health or your children’s health? Admittedly, it may require some thought and planning, but it can be done. Think in terms of calendars and carpools. It’s time to trade the remote for a baseball bat and instead of watching the stars dance, go do a little jig of your own.
Non-Athletes: Coordination is not necessarily a trait that you are either born with or don’t have at all. Coordination comes from your body and your brain working together to form connection in order for a task to be done effectively and efficiently. In other words: coordination can be taught through practicing a particular skill over and over. If a child is frustrated and wanting to do better in a sport, break down the process into small steps and practice, practice, practice. Kids won’t want to do what they aren’t good at, especially in front of their peers. To help them gain confidence in their bodies’ ability to perform a sport you may want to consider sports conditioning training offered at a local gym or enlist the service of a personal trainer who is knowledgeable in child development. Other options include a gym membership, DVD’s or equipment they can use at home until they reach a comfort level for sports and have a the confidence to succeed.