Molding the Beast: 102 l the importance of being fit and active.
It used to be that playing with rocks and sticks was the thing to do. If we got in trouble we couldn't go outside, there goes your bike, and park trips were out of the question. Now we see YouTube and other videos in which parents are destroying toys, game counsels, etc. as a form of punishment. In fact, some kids may even view being told to go outside as a punishment.
This notion couldn't be further from the truth, our children need to feel the outside. When I say feel the outside I don't just mean be there, no. They need to engage in activities that can keep them fit and in shape. A lot of those very same activities also help them develop skills such as working on teams, practicing until perfecting a certain task, and being interactive with their surroundings.
If my son had his choice he would avoid the sun, walk for maybe 5 minutes, and have no interactions with anyone that isn't family. Yes. Even at 7 years old he will complain about the notion of starting an activity outside. Yet, for the last 3 years he has been active in soccer, baseball, football, and he's even given a shot at basketball. Some of these sports he has grown to love and some of them he has grown to outgrow. My point? If we cater to what our children want to do they will never want to go outside, let alone break a sweat. Sometimes we just have to thrown them out there, become immune to their complaints, and eventually instead of huffing and puffing they will learn to love the feel of being active.
We can't simply tell them not to sit on their butts all day, we have to teach them not to do so. If we teach them now that being a team player is important, running, engaging, and enduring sports or other physical activity can be fun, and show them everything besides a T.V. when they get older they won't be able to help but be engaging.
According to an article written by LiveStrong playing sports and being interactive helps children develop their social skills, increases self esteem and excel in academics, i.e. they practice, are dedicated, etc. Another article written by the Aspen Institute reiterates that playing sports and being active helps children's cognitive skills develop better, teach leadership skills, and improves goal setting. In fact, children that are active and part of an outside activity are more likely to attend college as well.
Football and cheerleading usually go hand in hand as far as enrollment and leagues. The most common league among the United States is Pop Warner. Usually your county's website also has all the information you need about the football and cheerleading leagues in your area.
If your interested in your child playing baseball you can check out the Little League Finder which indicates the closest baseball league in your area based off your address. You can than click on that leagues website or if not available the coach or directors information can be found.
Although I haven't enrolled my son in yet I have heard great reviews of the YMCA having a great swimming program available for children. They also offer basketball programs and other outdoor activities that can keep your children engaged and encourage social interaction. You can type in your city on their website and it will direct you to city specific YMCA's and their contact.
The US Youth Soccer League has a list of local leagues based on network affiliation. You can also add any additional soccer leagues in your area that are not included in their network. The website has information on leagues, tournaments, and other competitions that happen nation wide.