The importance of sports and games in school encompasses more than just the benefit of physical activity. Increases in self-esteem and mental alertness make school sports and games necessary for every school age child. Although the benefits of school sports abound, financial constraints are forcing many schools to cut out or reduce sports and physical education programs to the detriment of students.
According to experts sports and games empower youth and promote higher self-esteem, it also motivates students and enables them to earn better grades, especially in schools where obtaining certain grades is a pre-requisite to staying on the team. Numerous physical benefits include maintaining a healthy weight, preventing chronic diseases and learning the skills necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle after graduating.
Promoting physical activity should ideally start at home as it is a crucial factor in determining whether your child will be interested in participating in sports as they go to school. Playing with your child, whether throwing a football or teaching them to swim, will teach them the importance of being active. Encouraging your school-age child to participate in a sport of their choice will allow them to continue doing so when they enter school.
However, some children do not consider themselves athletic and may prefer not to play organized school sports. They may be cut from the school team for lack of ability. For this group, there are intramural teams, which are sports for those not interested or able to play higher level athletics. It is important to remember in these cases not to make your child feel badly about not being a higher level athlete, but to remember the more important benefits of playing sports, and encourage them in this endeavor.
Many schools today are cutting spending for sports and athletics programs because they feel it is not an important part of their curriculum. Because of the many benefits of sports, it is imperative to continue the athletic programs available to children. As a parent it may be necessary to become involved on the school board to have a say about keeping athletic programs.