Children often discover activities at school that become part of their lives long after they leave the school grounds. They might play rounders or football for years, or develop a love for yoga or weight training.
Teachers can encourage students to participate in physical activity by modeling a healthy lifestyle and promoting a supportive environment. They can also offer incentives, like extra credit or special privileges, to students who regularly participate in sports programs and outdoor adventures.
1. Offer regular classes
In a time where kids spend more time glued to their screens watching TV or playing video games, sports are one way to encourage healthy lifestyles in them. Students who enroll in a regular sports activity have a better fitness level, which boosts their performance levels in education as well as extra-curricular activities.
Having the right balance between fun and competition is vital to ensure children enjoy themselves and develop positive self-esteem. They need to feel like they can improve and succeed, but not be pressured or pushed into performing better than their peers.
School leaders should also allow kids to try a variety of sports so they find the ones that work best for them. This allows them to get exercise without having to wait until after school or rely on their parents.
2. Host sporting events
A strong community spirit and a love for sports can foster positive behaviors in students. However, it’s essential that kids are able to see sports as fun rather than an obligation. To this end, schools and sports teams should promote events and share athlete and program success with the local media.
For example, a recent article from Tuscarora High School in Maryland highlights how they prioritize the inclusion of students regardless of their ability level. This creates a community in which pupils support each other to succeed. It also allows them to find a love for sport that lasts long after their school career has come to an end. A recent study found that ongoing involvement in sports can help with social adjustment for kids transitioning to middle and high school.
3. Offer incentives
For some children, sports may just not be fun. That’s fine if they tell you so, and you can help them find something else that is.
It’s important to teach kids that trying their best is what matters, and not the outcome of the game or competition. For example, if a child wins a match but loses to their peers in another region, they can still learn from the experience and be proud of their effort.
Incentives like trophies, ribbons and stickers are easy rewards that students love to get. You could also host fun group activities that require a lot of physical movement, such as paint parties or trips to escape rooms or laser tag. This will reward students for their hard work and encourage them to continue their efforts.
4. Encourage students to use technology
In a world where video games are a massive part of youth culture, it’s important for schools to help kids see the value of sports and the benefits they can offer in terms of physical health and social interaction. While many children will only play sports for a few years before dropping out, those who stick with it can find activities they enjoy and may even take up as hobbies in adulthood.
Recess is one way to encourage students to participate in physical activity, but you can also host before-and-after-school programs that encourage fitness. Alternatively, you could encourage students to walk or cycle to school instead of taking the bus. This can not only help them get fit, but reduce the number of cars near the school too.
5. Create a positive environment
Kids want to play sports, but it’s important to create a positive environment to encourage them. This includes having a positive attitude from coaches, as children will mirror their behavior. For example, if a coach is frustrated when a student misses a shot, it will affect the child’s attitude and confidence in sport.
Creating a positive environment also means keeping the gym/stadium and locker room clean and inviting. This will instill a sense of pride and encourage students to put their best foot forward.
Organising different extra-curricular activities is another way to increase engagement in sport. This could include arranging trips for students to try new physical activities outside of school. These activities are a great way to help students break out of their comfort zone and build teamwork skills.