PhotoAlthough school may only just be starting in certain areas of the country, extracurricular sport activities may already be well underway in your area. If you feel that time management is already an issue for your children, just wait until the school year really starts.

Schoolwork, part-time jobs, and other responsibilities can be extremely hard to manage for both parents and students if the latter is involved in sports; it leaves many wondering if the juggling, nagging, and lack of sleep is all worth it in the end. Studies show that for some it may be a great way to grow and develop; for others, it may do the exact opposite.

Pros and cons

There has been controversy for years over whether or not sports are good for developing children. Proponents claim that they teach discipline, encourage self-esteem, and cultivate teamwork skills that will be useful later in life. Studies show that children who participate in organized sports during middle and high school will perform better academically and be offered greater job prospects when they grow up.

Sports also teach many other positive attributes that are important for developing children. Intensity, continuity, and balance are all core components of a successful athlete. Having your child develop these qualities early on will help them immensely when they reach adulthood.

On the flip side of the coin, detractors say that sports can be detrimental to children in other ways. Dealing with such a hectic schedule can often be daunting or overwhelming, which can negatively affect self-esteem. Other children may feel less competent, or even inferior, when compared to their peers if they are not athletically inclined. Even something as simple as getting a bad coach can turn a potentially positive experience into a negative one.

Although many athletes are able to thrive academically, there are always exceptions to that rule. Juggling so many responsibilities is not for everyone, and many children allow their schoolwork to slip as a result.

Individual choices

From all of these varying points, we can infer that there is no easy answer to this problem. Knowing if sports is good or bad for your children is ultimately going to depend on what kind of people they are. If they struggle academically and already have a hard time managing their time, then maybe sports is not the best thing for them. Conversely, if they seem to thrive when challenged or could benefit from team-oriented activities, then it can be a great choice.

The important thing to keep in mind is making sure there is balance in your children’s lives. They should not only be absorbed with academics or sports; there are many other extracurricular activities that they could, and should, benefit from. It is not necessarily a numbers game either. Subjects like art, drama, and music can be great outlets for children, and they teach many life skills that can be just as beneficial to them as they grow up.

Even something as simple as volunteering at a food pantry, or doing work with a local church or youth group can be a great experience. The important thing is that your children stay active and use their time meaningfully. So while school sports seasons are already upon us, make sure you weigh the positives and negatives so you can help your children make the best individual choices for themselves. 

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