Whether they want to or not, most children will end up playing team games from the moment they set foot in a nursery or school.
From football to rugby, hockey to netball, cricket to croquet, most sports require team play, demand cooperation and teach sportsmanship.
In addition, being active keeps kids physically fit, team mates often turn into friends, and healthy competition can be inspirational.
Benefits of team games for children abound!
Teaching Through Team Games
Children learn a great number of lessons outside of the classroom and on the pitch. Just a few of these life lessons include:
- Sportsmanship and how to be a “good winner” or “good loser.”
- The importance of fair play and avoiding cheating.
- Honing skills in cooperation and helping others.
- Learning discipline and striving for a goal.
- Physical conditioning and daily exercise.
- Practicing patience and taking turns.
- Accepting criticism.
- Accepting praise.
- Accepting help.
Something for Everyone
While there have always been a handful of high profile team games, many more exist that require a variety of skills and talents. Team games that children might enjoy include:
- Water polo
- Synchronised swimming
Finding a Sport to Suit Your Child
With so many choices, it may seem like you will never find the perfect team game for your child. Before you begin your search for the perfect sport, consider the following factors:
- Your child’s interests. Which games does he/she enjoy following?
- Your child’s abilities. Can your child run fast or throw far?
- Levels of competition. Is your child in it for fun, or for something more?
- The family schedule. Will you be able to bring your child to every practice?
- Finances. Children may gravitate to horses, but can you afford to play polo?
Practice Makes Perfect
If your child has never participated in team games before, it may be best to ease him or her into their first practice.
- Discuss the rules of the game with your child before they ever take to the pitch.
- Introduce your child to the team coach.
- Invest in the proper sports kit your child will require.
- Consider serving up a special “athlete’s supper” after practice.
- Show enthusiasm for your child’s practice stories.
- Attend competitions to watch your little star shine!
If an organisation doesn’t exist for your child’s chosen sport or activity, consider organising one yourself. You’ll learn new skills, spend quality time with your child and make new acquaintances.
There’s nothing to lose!