April 25 2014
Music and sport activities are positive for all children’s wellbeing.
Children who are involved in sports get higher school grades, have an increased sense of self-worth, and are more likely to go further in education than children who are not involved in sport. These children are generally healthier due to their increased activity, and have strong social networks.
Children involved in music activities (such as learning a musical instrument) are often better adjusted, with increased academic performance, ability to think creatively, emotional understanding, and emotional expression; typically have better memory skills than those who are not musically trained.
With so many benefits, how can we most effectively engage your children in these activities?
Be a role model – children follow their parents. If your children see you practice an instrument (or learn for the first time), they will be very likely to follow. Similarly with sport and exercise.
Create a supportive environment – if we have sports-related items around the home, they’re likely to be used! Same goes with a piano, keyboard, guitar, violin, or other instruments.
Encourage your child -look for opportunities for your child to extend herself, there are sports opportunities and teams at school. See if she would like to be involved in the after-school dance class or choir.
Social support – individual sports and music require more effort because of the lack of “team”. Conversely, being part of a team seems to increase motivation as children enjoy being with their friends, and don’t like to let them down. If friends are involved in a particular activity and your child shows an interest, the joint participation is likely to motivate them to stay involved.
Be involved yourself – this provides an opportunity for parents to pass on positive attitudes about the activity. We get the chance to provide encouragement and feedback and teach important skills. And research shows that when we participate in an activity with our children they’ll be more motivated to continue the activity even when we’re not with them.
The way we involve our children in music or sports matters. By doing these five things, we’re far more likely to see long-term motivation, participation, and success for our children in sport, music, and life.