The best sports for parents to choose for their kids

These days, there are dozens upon dozens of options of sports for kids. From soccer to hockey, to cheerleading to gymnastics, to archery and even street luging, there’s a sport for everyone. But choosing just one can be tricky, especially because sport can play a crucial role in your child’s development.

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Now, a new tool has made choosing a sport for your child easier than ever, and the Aspen Institute’s Healthy Sport Index aims to assist parents in deciding what activity will be best for their little ones. The tool gives parents the opportunity to weigh up three factors; a sport’s psychological benefits, the safety level, and the physical activity required to participate. Once a parent has selected the factors in order of importance that will benefit their child the most, the tool provides a customised ranking that lists sports that are suitable options.

The right mix

With cases of childhood obesity on the rise, encouraging kids to be active is more important than ever, and the tool aims to find the right mix for children and to match them with sports they’ll enjoy.

Some kids need more emphasis on low-risk activities, so something like swimming or tennis would be suggested. But for those who are fine with a bit of risk and need the psychological benefits and to develop cognitive and social skills, soccer would be the best choice. And, for those looking for high exercise levels with plenty of interaction and team play, hockey would be ideal. Even a simple field hockey drill like those found at pushes a child to perform, get fit and engage with others, and this can greatly advance their development.

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In-depth studies

The new tool came about after North Carolina State University undertook extensive studies. Researchers documented over 700 hours of sport’s practices to account for the psychological benefit, the risk factor and the energy utilised.

Using the results of their studies, they collated their information to come up with a sliding scale of sports that were suitable for children with differing needs. Each and every sport offers something unique, and by being able to assign them differing factors, parents will now be able to accurately determine what the best fit for their child will be, based on actual in-depth research.


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