There’s a reason why sunshine is associated with happiness. It makes people feel good, and kids love to run around on warm, sunny days.
And for youth sports, bright, sunny days are ideal for outdoor games like baseball, softball, rugby, lacrosse, football, and soccer. Anyone who has been disappointed by a game being canceled because of rain or a snow blizzard can tell you that.
Also, your child will reap the amazing medical benefits of being out in the sun as sunshine activates the production of vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D is vital for building strong teeth and bones. However, too much exposure to the sun can be a problem.
The sun’s rays can be harsh on certain days and cause sunburn. Heat and humidity can cause heat exhaustion which involves symptoms like weakness, dizziness, and nausea. And heatstroke can cause fainting.
It is crucial to keep our kids well protected from the sun on those hot and sunny game days. Here’s how:
The sun is harshest during the midday which is between 10 am to 3 pm.
The sunscreen you choose should provide adequate protection. On a regular play day, SPF 15 is usually enough. But since SPF refers to the length of time a person can remain in the sun before they start to burn, SPF 30 and up is best for young athletes because their games can last up to a little under an hour.
SPF 30 will suffice for children aged 4 and up and should be applied before the child goes out. It’s ideal that it would be reapplied every couple of hours.
Your child likely wears a uniform, and there’s not much you can do about that. So make sure that you apply sunscreen on all of your kid’s skin that is exposed to the sun’s rays.
You child will need to increase their fluid intake on hot days. Make sure they are drinking plenty of water. You may not be there to ensure that they do particularly if they are in the dug-out, sitting on the sidelines, or in the field. This is why it’s important to remind them pre-game how important it is to drink water before, during and after the game to stay hydrated.
Explain the effects of dehydration and how they can recognize the symptoms. Tell them how dehydration can affect their sports performance. For younger kids, explain that not drinking enough water will make them sick and they may lose out the chance to play more.
After the game, get them to the shade and make sure they drink plenty of water.
Any adult today who played sports as a child will tell you that the time they spent participating in sports had a lasting impact on their lives. And it is why those adults when they became parents, encourage their own kids to play sports when they’re old enough.
The adults who participated in youth sports remember the friendships they made, the lessons they learned about hard work, and the discipline they developed. It’s only natural that they would want to give those same valuable life lessons to their kids.
But beyond wanting to give their children a fun experience, they know that sports will help them build character and that competitive edge that will get them further in life. Here are 4 reasons why kids who play sports tend to do better in life:
Obesity in adulthood is often the result of being overweight in their youth. Through sports, children learn about healthier lifestyles, and because sports is fun for them, they don’t even realize that they are exercising, something many adults dread. Sports keep kids fit and engaging in physical activity starts to become so natural for them that they continue to be well into adulthood.
Teamwork and Leadership
Team sports teach kids how to work well with their teammates. It also brings out the natural leader in them. Later in life when they are working in the real world, the skills that they developed in working together comes into play. A big part of being successful in life and work is being collaborative and working well with others.
Discipline and Resilience
Kids learn self-discipline through goal-setting in sports. They know that to improve their skills or technique, they need to work hard and practice. This helps them build character, particularly when things don’t always go their way and they need to deal with failure. They learn how to pick themselves up and keep going.
Sports teaches kids to not only respect authority figures such as their coaches or game officials, but they learn to respect their teammates, themselves, and rules. They grow up to be adults who recognize that rules or laws are there for a reason. And although competitive enough to drive towards their goals, they respect their superiors and the process it takes to get there.
Another bonus of participating in sports doesn’t apply to all, but it is worth mentioning. Sports can give your kids that competitive edge by improving their chances of getting into college through scholarships. Because participating in sports may be their shot at getting into the college of their choice, they are less likely to drop out of school or engage in delinquent behavior.