Raising kids comes with no shortage of needs to fulfill. There are the emotional needs, such as love and a sense of self-worth. Then there are physical needs, like a roof over their heads and clothes on their backs (and back sides). And the social needs. And the school lists. And, and, and… the list can seem endless.
We bog ourselves down racing to fulfill this list of “needs,”—when really, all we want is for our kids to be healthy, happy and well.
Good news: While we can’t always give you a recipe for success, this time we can! Even better news: If your child’s already participating in a team sport, they’re already well on their way to mastering it.
Based on evidence gathered from the UK government’s Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing, an organization called the New Economics Foundation (NEF) developed the “Five Ways to Wellbeing,” a set of evidence-based actions to promote well-being. Here’s what it looks like:
Connect. Even the most introverted of people need social interactions and meaningful relationships to thrive. These connections are the heart of well-being, as they provide meaning, insights, and support. In team sports, these connections are only natural, from the coach-athlete relationship to connections with other team members; simply put, they’re unavoidable (and that’s a great thing!).
Be active. Obviously exercise keeps our hearts and bodies healthy, but it also helps our minds. It increases our focus and releases endorphins that, literally, make us feel happier. Play is a natural for kids, but as they get older, play often transitions from active games of tag and chase outside to video games in front of the TV. Team sports are a great way to ensure kids remain consistently active and adopt that activity level as a way of life.
Take notice. Teach your children to notice what is happening around them, from seasons changing to growth in their team, a new personal achievement (for themselves or a teammate) or even new equipment at their gym. Help them to recognize these moments, big or small, to identify what they’re feeling in light of these experiences, and to reflect on them. This awareness and personal reflection welcomes thankfulness into their lives and hearts.
Keep learning. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks—but they’re wrong, and that wrongness is critical to our wellness. Imagine learning nothing new after high school graduation. Life would be boring! In sports, they’re constantly learning new skills and challenging themselves. Teach your children to seek out new challenges and goals throughout their lives; they’ll become more confident and find themselves more fulfilled.
Give. Doing something kind for someone else is the best therapy for the soul. Whether it’s time, money or a simple act of kindness, give. Many sports teams participate in community service, providing athletes seamless opportunities to connect with their communities, while also growing relationships with their peers.
There are countless benefits to team sports, but what you might not realize is that they offer direct exposure into the five ways to wellbeing. So much of what our children truly need to be happy comes at home—and the rest, well, you may need to look no further than your training at Ultimate Cheer.