Raising kids is tough. From the moment they’re born right until the day they go off to college, get married and move out, your work is never truly done, and they’re never far from your thoughts. But when it comes to raising your kids with specific interests – whether it’s arts or sports – how do you know which one to choose?
While it might be easier to just go with what feels natural to you and your spouse, it’s important to know the benefits of both before making your decision.
For many families, what it usually comes down to is whichever you and your partner are more inclined to. Sports fanatic fathers will raise their kids to worship the same sports teams, go to games, and participate in a variety of sports. Meanwhile, it would be more natural for an artistically inclined parent to raise her child by exposing him to painting, sculpture, and the performing arts. If you’re having trouble choosing between the two, here are a few points that might help you decide.
The benefits of sports for kids
At Michigan State University, researchers have found that kids who participate in sports do better in school than their less active peers. Being involved in sports teaches focus, time management, and improves one’s social skills. It also instills in kids the value of healthy competition -- teaching kids to win and lose gracefully -- despite the outcome of a game, which further contributes to a child’s emotional development.
Research has also shown that children who are involved in sports are more well- rounded, which is something that lasts well into adulthood. Aside from it being good for their health, sports promotes healthy self-esteem, lessens the likelihood of them developing anxiety or depression, not to mention combats childhood obesity, develops leadership and team-building skills, and improves their ability to think on their toes. In fact, in 2013, Swiss researchers found that most of these benefits are optimized when kids spent at least 14 hours on sports and physical activity a week, which is twice as much as what the World Health Organization recommends.
The benefits of arts for kids
Art, on the other hand, has been shown to facilitate greater emotional intelligence in kids and adults. It helps kids explore complex feelings and teaches them not to be scared to express themselves. In addition, studies have shown that kids who regularly express themselves through art are more likely to do better in math and science. Art strengthens a child’s focus, increases his attention span, aids in developing hand-eye coordination, improves strategic thinking, and strengthens his relationship with his environment.
At the end of the day, whether it’s sports or arts you choose, always remember to listen to your child and be aware of his specific inclinations. What you want for your kids isn’t always necessarily the right path for them to take. By having a healthy balance of both arts and sports, they’ll get the best of both worlds and be able to maximize the benefits of each discipline.