Empowering Girls – Helping Your Tween Daughter Choose a Sport For Building Self-Esteem
For virtually two decades studies have publicized positive links between involvement in sports and youth development including increased cognitive development, improved motor skills, popularity, better social skills and building self-esteem. When helping your tween daughter choose a sport in which to participate there are many factors to consider. Here’s a quick checklist.[adToAppearHere]
1) Time commitment
With any sport, the better and more involved the athlete, the more time she will be committing to the sport. Since most children aren’t going to grow up to be Olympic athletes, however, you should start by simply evaluating the time commitment during involvement in years one through three. If the soccer league spends the summer months taking overnight trips for three out of four weekends a month, be sure to consider how that time commitment may affect your own schedule as well as your daughter’s other commitments.
For most moms and dads, finances must be a consideration when allowing your daughter to choose a sport. Horseback riding, for example, can be extremely expensive, especially if the costs include owning and boarding a horse. Some group sports offer ways to fundraise for costumes, travel costs, and more.
While some sports are year-round, many sports are seasonal, such as soccer, basketball and cheer leading. Understanding what your on-season and off-season commitments are ahead of time will set clear expectations for both of you.
4) Team versus solo sports
There are actually three kinds of sport types when it comes to participation with others. First, there are the kinds of sports where your daughter will be on a team and playing with the team. If she gains motivation through team activities, then this is likely a good choice for her. Second, there are sports where you are on a team but you participate individually, like tennis, most swimming and gymnastics. This is a nice compromise for a girl who enjoys working at her own pace and retaining more individuality in routine or costume. Last, there are sports in which the athlete works completely alone. Sometimes martial arts and boxing are solo sports (although sometimes competition teams are formed to offer camaraderie and support). Any sport taken privately may be a completely solo sport.
5) Abilities & physical attributes
Your daughter’s abilities and physical attributes will oftentimes dictate which sports are best for her. If she has poor hand-eye coordination, then baseball, which requires her to throw and catch a ball, may not be a good choice for her. If she is a good performer, she may enjoy a performance sport such as baton twirling or cheer leading. Physical attributes also factor into a sports choice, although this is much less of a factor during elementary and middle school than during high school and college.
6) Family considerations
There are many things to consider in regard to your family and the impact your daughter’s new sport may have on it. Are there siblings who play sports? If so, will their activities conflict? Sibling rivalry is also an important consideration. If your daughter is continually in the shadow of an older sibling who excels at a particular sport, it may be wise to have her choose a different sport so that she has the chance to shine in her own unique way-unless she has her heart set on playing the same sport, and truly shares a passion for it. The amount of time, money, and family sacrifice that the sport will require is also an important consideration. Parents who run themselves ragged seven days a week so that their children can participate in conflicting sports activities tend to burn out, making the experience stressful instead of enjoyable.
Sports and athletics have numerous benefits for tween girls. Overwhelming evidence supports the argument that sports opportunities are empowering girls and can improve their self-esteem. Socially, there is research to support that kids see boys and girls as more popular when they are involved with sports. Help your daughter choose the right sport for both of you, and you will reap the benefits by building self-esteem in your daughter.
For 5 more reasons why your daughter should be in sports as she grows up through ages 8 to 12, read 5 Ways Sports Are Empowering Girls and Building Their Self-esteem
Discovery Girls, Inc. is a media company whose goal is to help tween girls become strong, confident, resilient young women. Founded in 2000, their products include Discovery Girls, the award-winning magazine by girls, for girls ages 8 to 12; The Fab Girls Guides books; and DiscoverYourDaughter, a site for parents of tween girls.[adToAppearHere]
Looking for additional resources to help with your tween? Download this free report on Self-Esteem in ‘Tween’ Girls, Raising Resilient & Confident Daughters.
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Sources: brainyquote.com, Wikipedia, fciwomenswrestling2.com, FCI Elite Competitor, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.
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