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The benefits of youth sports have long been heralded across America. Today, more than 30 million adolescents and children around the country participate in some athletic activity, be it individual or in a team. The  physical health benefits of an active childhood are known and documented, but did you know that sports can improve our children’s mental health as well?

Through character building and team work, children can improve social function, learn time management, become quick decision makers and become tougher when facing mental challenges. With an enjoyable sports activity, and the help of a qualified Bethesda MD family therapist, young athletes can stave off depression and reduce stress. Furthermore, children who participate in sports reportedly have a higher self esteem on average.

Psychologists, much like family counselor Lindsey Hoskins in Bethesda MD, have shown that children and adolescents involved in sports are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. Furthermore, they are less likely to engage in emotionally and physically risky behaviour like sex and drugs. They are also less likely consider suicide.

As we know, a child’s social life is an essential factor in that child’s psychological development. Children in sports can improve their social skills through:

  • leadership and teambuilding
  • better understanding of social group dynamics
  • positive relationships with adults such as coaches and mentors
  • building friendships
  • interaction with children from other backgrounds and cultures

In addition to this, sports teach children about goal setting. They gain pleasure from achievements and learn how to deal with setbacks and loss. They are more able to quickly rebound and refocus. Teaching sportsmanship is also a good way to teach children ethical and moral values. All of these characteristics are markers for a healthier adulthood. If you are interested in learning more about the psychological values of sports, consider speaking to an athletic coach in your area. Talk to your child about his or her interests and find age-appropriate sports which you can encourage your child to try. You may also consider speaking to an individual therapist in Bethesda MD, Washington DC, or the surrounding area about how sports can enrich your child’s life.

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