An important part of being a foster parent is nurturing children and helping them to develop their own character and interests. Team sports are known to have lots of benefits for children and can help foster children in particular to acquire new skills and build confidence.
Why team sports?
While foster children should be encouraged to pursue many types of interests and activities, participating in team sports has a lot of recognised benefits. Taking part in a physical activity is likely to have a positive impact on their health and encourage them to remain active throughout their lives. Additionally, sports can also have constructive effects on emotional wellbeing too.
Support and structure
When you support a foster child in your care to take part in team sports and attend classes or lessons, it may be the first time in their life that they have had the encouragement or opportunity to do so. It can be incredibly rewarding for them to take part in activities that are enjoyed by their peers. This in itself can provide a sense of normalcy and belonging as well as empowerment. There are also opportunities to experience new roles within an environment that has clear rules and boundaries. For example, they may have the chance to be a sports team captain and learn leadership skills.
Whether they shine at sport or simply love to play, being part of a team can help shy children to open up and make friends and teaches a range of social skills. If the child plays regularly as part of a team they’re likely to have other team events to attend too, which means an active social life that includes peers and other adult role models such as coaches and teachers.
Team sports require commitment to develop skills and better performance, which gives children of all ages something to focus on and promotes a healthy attitude to body and mind. You may even find it easier to persuade kids to eat their greens if they’re planning on putting in a good performance on the sports pitch in the future! Regular attendance at classes, lessons or games also encourages responsibility and good time management by requiring that other tasks such as homework be completed alongside attendance.
How to find a sport that’s a good fit
A child may come to you with a ready interest in a team sport that you can develop together or might need help to explore the possibilities open to them. Some children need extra encouragement and support to try new activities and sports for the first time and you can supply this by trying things out as a family. Speak to your foster child and ask about things they might like to try and organise games at home or go along to taster sessions together. Team sports won’t appeal to every child, so don’t worry if they don’t discover that their favourite hobby is a team sport. There are plenty of other extracurricular activities they may want to get involved with – from drama through to cookery classes! If you do have the pleasure of helping children to discover a new interest, don’t forget to include details in their care plan so they can continue to pursue it should they move on to a new care situation.
Do you have any questions about activities your foster child can take part in or perhaps about permission for team sports trips? Get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.