Hockey for Kids

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Research has found that participating in sports can have a healthy developmental impact on young children. These activities can promote cooperative play, teamwork, and good sportsmanship while helping to refine gross motor skills. Sports can also help children get along with and become accepted by others, including peers, family members, teachers, and coaches. Plus, through positive feedback, group play builds self-esteem, helping your child realize that she’s a capable personal who is able to accomplish significant achievements. 
Many people would think that hockey is only for adults. Little do they realize that kids, even at such a young age, can play this challenging type of sport because they can benefit a lot from it. Just like in any other sport, hockey instills all the right values that the child needs to learn to be successful in life. Most people don’t realize it but sports that are being played by team such as hockey can bring about many advantages compared to those that are played by individuals. Primarily, the biggest advantage would be playing team sports such as hockey is that it is more fun since it involves so many personalities.
Other advantages may include:
•  Instilling discipline in kids. This is very important because once discipline has been taught to a child early on, facing life’s challenges and achieving success will be easier. Being a competitive sport, a child develops discipline when he or she needs to follow rules during the game. Aside from acknowledging what are the things that could and couldn’t be done while playing, discipline can be instilled when the child is forced to follow a strict schedule for practice games.
Developing social skills. Since most team sports encourage people to interact and get along with other members while playing the game, playing hockey helps teach kids to develop good social skills to win the respective game. It is one way of learning how to properly mingle with other people and respecting their individual personalities.
• Realizing the value of unity and cooperation. One of the major advantages of sports such as hockey is that it teaches each member the value of being one while playing the sport. Since everybody wants to win, all members will be forced to cooperate with one another to achieve a common goal of winning.
Improving levels of skills. As a team, the members are expected to rely on one another’s performances.
When playing team sports such as hockey, there is a possibility that the overall performance of the group will improve once they see each other’s desire to win.
Teaching patience. Aside from discipline, hockey also teaches children patience. Since it is hard to play the game, kids who play hockey need to develop patience to be good at it. They need patience when they are being coached and when they practice.

Tae Kwon Do

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Activities like tae kwon do, kung fu, and aikido are a fun way for both boys and girls to achieve fitness and focus
The martial arts actually help teach self-discipline and socialization skills. In fact, many parents whose children have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) report great success with these programs because self-control and concentration are exactly the skills underdeveloped in ADHD kids.
A typical hour-long class begins and ends with a bow to the teacher, or master. After a warm-up, students practice the art’s particular skills, which may include kicks, punches, and blocks. Each requires concentration and strict attention.
Taekwondo is a total learning activity. Lessons are tailored to a child’s age and skill level. The child begins by practicing basic patterns and forms, board breaking, kicking, blocking, striking, and punching. These fundamental skills increase your child’s physical coordination, flexibility, balance, and mental acumen.
Taekwondo develops your child’s athletic abilities and self-awareness, and improves the child’s capabilities in self-defense. It emphasizes moral development as well. Children learn respect for themselves and others, heightened concentration, and increased self-discipline and self-restraint.
The self-discipline that develops as a result of learning and practicing the techniques usually carries over into other areas of the child’s life. School grades often improve as your child learns to focus on objectives and to work toward achievement. The self-discipline and self-resect which Taekwondo develops can provide your child with the skills and mindset necessary to resist peer pressure.
Progress is often marked by the belt system, which takes the beginner from a white belt through a variety of colors until black. Testing for each new level, generally every three months, is a good exercise in setting and achieving goals.
Children can start classes as early as 4 or 5 years old. In terms of physical fitness, coordination is developed as TaeKwonDo helps strenghten both sides of the body as the child learns to kick with both legs and block/punch with both arms.
Finding a good Martial Arts school is crucial and cannot be over emphasized.The quality in teaching ranges enormously from school to school. Finding the right school depends on the attitude of the child and even yourself as a parent. Do you want your child to be an Olympic Champion or just find an enjoyable sport that will develop them mentally and physically and see where this takes them? Do not settle on the first club that you go to, as there is a huge range of levels of teaching. Most importantly, your kid has to enjoy what he/she is doing and also learning in the correct way at the same time. Discuss the clubs policies with the teacher and you will get a good feel for how the club is run.
 

Gymnastics for Kids

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Gymnastics is a lot of fun and provides kids and teenagers with great exercise. Although gymnastics is always popular, in the months following every Olympics, gymnastic studios see a big increase in interest. Kids watch the competition and get excited about trying out the sport. And who could blame them? Watching talented gymnasts do a series of floor exercises or master the various types of apparatus can be thrilling.

Getting Started
Gymnastics classes are offered for children of all ages, beginning with toddlers. For the little ones, “Tiny Tots Tumbling” is usually a fun filled experience aimed at letting kids learn a few of the basics. As they get a bit older, kids can participate in classes designed to enhance their skills. By the time that they are teenagers, kids who have been taking gymnastics classes for a number of years will likely be quite proficient. Classes for kids and teens are readily available and be easily found by doing a quick internet search. Simply go to your favorite search engine and type in “gymnastics class” along with the name of your town. You’ll be surprised at how many classes are available close to home.

Setting Goals
For most kids, the goals of gymnastics classes should be fitness and fun. If a child displays a great deal of promise, the parents can consider hiring a professional coach to help take their ability to the next level. Be careful not to let your child’s enthusiasm for gymnastics become all-consuming. As with all sports, many kids participate, but very few will be blessed with both the talent and good fortune to take it to an Olympic level. Just let them have fun.

What’s Involved?
Gymnastics encompasses a variety of activities, which vary for boys and girls. Typically, men and boys perform on the horizontal bar, parallel bars, pommel horse, rings, vault, and floor exercises. Girls and women gymnasts do floor exercises and vault, as well as the balance beam and uneven bars. For both genders, gymnastics provides an overall body conditioning workout.

Benefits
In addition to enhancing physical fitness, participation in gymnastics gives kids body confidence and promotes self esteem. As children’s skills progress, they become increasingly confident in their physical abilities. This confidence often spills over into other areas of the child’s life, improving their performance in many areas. Kids and teens who are self confident are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, develop an eating disorder, or falter academically.

Quality Coaching
Whether your child is just beginning to enjoy gymnastics or has been working on improving their skills for a number of years, capable coaches are necessary. It is important that your child’s instructors take the time to teach kids to warm up and stretch muscles properly to avoid injury and to focus on overall conditioning rather than just mastering gymnastic moves. A good coach will also find the right balance between challenging the kids to strive for improvement while keeping the focus on fun. If you are considering gymnastics classes for your child, check with friends for recommendations. There is no better referral than a satisfied customer!

Learning to Swim

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learning to swimWith over two-thirds of the Earth’s surface covered in water, one of the most important skills we can teach our children to help ensure their safety is to learn to swim. There is no particular age at which learning to swim is best, but when you feel it is time remember that this can often be a frustrating, scary experience for children, and it may be best to let the professionals teach this particular lesson. But aside from booking a course of swimming lessons, is there anything else a parent can do to help their child learn to swim? Pull out the old swim trunks because the answer is a resounding “yes”!

Do Your Homework
Swimming instructors undergo rigorous water safety and life saving training that makes them the best teachers of children learning to swim. Before deciding on an instructor, research a little bit and:

  • Ask friends and neighbors to recommend a teacher.
  • Inquire about lessons at your local pool or health club.
  • Visit the local swim team to see if the coaches provide lessons.
  • Avoid unqualified teachers, like members of a swim team who may not be certified.
  • Ask if an instructor has experience teaching children the same age as your child.
  • Ask to see an instructor’s certification if you feel something is amiss.

Get Kitted Out
Like many sports, swimming comes with its own kit and most of it is useful even for those just learning to swim. Consider investing in:

  • Sporty, supportive swimsuits that can withstand motion and activity.
  • Goggles to keep salt or chlorine out of the eyes.
  • A swim cap to protect hair and keep it safely tucked away.
  • Flip-flops or other sandals to avoid walking in stagnant water and shared showers.
  • Towels to keep the little ones warm when they exit the water, and for showering.
  • Specially formulated shampoo to remove salt or chlorine from the hair after swimming.
  • A waterproof bag to help keep all of the swimming gear in one place.

Practice Makes Perfect
Swimming lessons will usually take place once, or at most twice, per week. In the mean time, jump in with     your child so that they can practice their strokes!Always check the depth of the water before beginning your fun.

  • Always check the depth of the water before beginning your fun.
  • Never assume that water wings or other inflated accessories are enough to keep your child afloat without supervision.
  • Invest in noodles and kickboards to help your child practice floating and kicking.
  • Throw coins or water sticks into shallow water to help your child dive under.
  • Remind you child of what he/she learned at the last lesson. Practice the specific skill they were taught.
  • Bring little ones into deep water with you so that they become comfortable moving around.
  • Consider offering swimming related treats for successful water activities.

Be Your Child’s Biggest Cheerleader
Many children are timid around water and feel uncoordinated and out of place when they are learning to  swim. As a parent, perhaps the greatest gift you can give them at this time is your support. Never push a child to do things in the water that they are not comfortable with, and instead offer high praise when they complete a water-related task. If you feel your child is abnormally afraid of the water, speak with the instructor about your concerns.