The best way of keeping your children committed to doing exercise is to find what they love. Unfortunately, though, life isn’t that simple. Children of younger years, in particular, don’t quite yet know where their instincts are going to take them – and their peer group is everything.
But the benefits of doing exercise from an early age are, unequivocally, manifold. And in today’s society, there is nothing bigger than soccer when it comes to sport – so it’s very likely that children will be drawn in this direction. And that’s a good thing, too. Soccer is great exercise, fosters team spirit, self-discipline and gets children out there in the fresh air.
So can you “make them” love it? Well, no, but as the old saying has it, you can lead the horse to water – and leading your children to the possibility of taking soccer to the next level will have great benefits for their health, well-being and self-esteem.
Taking a keen interest in what’s going on yourself can certainly help. Even if you’ve previously had little interest in the sport, things like Premier League betting, and watching all the shows featuring soccer – whether serious or tongue in cheek, can certainly help the adults.
For younger children, following the big clubs and superstars seems to be what it’s mainly about. And anything that fosters their interest has to be welcomed at this stage. The wish to emulate their heroes and follow a particular club should, with most children, lead to a similar desire to participate for themselves, which is what this is all about of course, because getting incidental exercise whilst doing something they love anyway is the ultimate endgame here.
This will help children to develop a healthy mind and a healthy body. There is a wealth of research available which supports the view that participating in regular sport helps decrease body fat and strengthen bones. Football and other ball sports also help improve children’s co-ordination, balance and flexibility. Exercise assists stamina and enhances concentration. But perhaps most importantly of all, starting to take regular sporting activity from an early age means children are far more likely to carry this level of activity through to adulthood.
And this is the key of course, developing a love for the whole process of sport and exercise will carry a person through life. This is the complete antithesis of doing exercise because we think we should – but not particularly enjoying it. Indeed, it’s for this very reason that so many New Year’s resolutions fall down after just a couple of weeks’ exercise – because it’s a chore rather than fun.
So whether it’s soccer or another sport, the whole idea is for this never to feel like a chore. It should be fun, fun, fun and the exercise benefits are purely incidental. The children get fit and healthy in mind and body almost without knowing it. Our role as parents is to do all we can to foster that joyful feeling.