Getting into sports at a young age provides many physical, mental, and emotional benefits for your child. First and foremost, engaging in sports regularly helps keep your child fit and healthy. More than that, sports also teach children patience, discipline, sportsmanship, leadership, and hard work, among many other life skills that they can carry into adulthood.
However, sports can also have negative consequences for your child, especially regarding their health. Nevertheless, you can help avoid these negative consequences by helping your child kick the habits that cause them in the first place.
Here are some of the most common bad habits that many child athletes have:
- Not wearing a mouthguard
Wearing a mouth guard is a must for high-contact sports such as football, martial arts, field hockey, and lacrosse. The same goes for sports that do not require a mouth guard but should, such as soccer, volleyball, basketball, and gymnastics. Wearing a mouth guard is necessary to avoid sports-related dental injuries, anywhere from a fracture to complete tooth loss.
Children, especially pre-teens, might think that wearing a mouthguard is “uncool.” While this logic might not make sense to you as an adult, it can be a different story when your child is influenced by peer pressure. If your child does not make a habit of wearing their mouthguard whenever they engage in sports (even during practice), the chances of a dental injury are much, much higher.
Once you notice this habit in your child athlete, help them kick it as soon as possible. You could try reiterating the importance of wearing their mouthguard (and showing the consequences of dental injuries), and you can also let them pick out a new one so that they are more willing to wear it. For instance, if they play football, let them pick out a new mouthguard for football in a design they really want.
- Going into practice hungry
Children are less able to manage their nutritional intake properly than adults who can cook and buy food whenever they want. More so, child athletes are often unaware of the importance of proper nutrition before they attend practice, much less the consequences of engaging in sports while hungry.
Teach your child to how to listen to their body starting from a very young age. If they are old enough to go to practice without your supervision, they should know how to respond to their hunger properly. A great way to do this is by sending your child to school with pre-practice snacks that they can eat if and when they get hungry. Moreover, teach them to eat at least an hour or thirty minutes before practice to avoid side stitches and bloating.
- Only changing clothes after getting home from practice
Think about all the sweat, dirt, and bacteria that end up on your child’s skin after they get home from practice. Surely, you wouldn’t want them to change their clothes and sit at the dinner table with all that grime still coating their skin.
Leaving germs and bacteria on the skin for too long can lead to various skin issues, like acne, rashes, and dermatitis, to name a few. Moreover, you wouldn’t want your child to bring this unhygienic habit into adulthood, much less let it affect their self-esteem.
That said, instruct your child to shower after every time they exercise or even get too sweaty. They might not like it at first, but after a few days, they’ll grow to appreciate the feeling of being clean more than the convenience of just changing clothes after getting home from practice.
- Drinking sugary sports drinks
Most sports drinks contain a high amount of sugar, which can erode the outer shell of your child’s teeth, leaving them more susceptible to cavities and other dental issues. So, while they might be refreshing to drink and attractive to your child’s palate, sports drinks do more harm than good. In fact, your child does not need the electrolytes in sports drinks anyway as long as they are drinking enough water.
On that note, limit your child’s sports drink intake to one or two a week. If possible, get them off it altogether and focus on water instead.
No matter how independent they are, children still require your guidance, especially when it comes to navigating their own lives. That said, if your child is pursuing an athletic track, watch out for these bad habits and be ready to help your child get rid of them if need be.
Meta title:Bad Habits among Child Athletes
meta desc: Like adult athletes, child athletes have bad habits, many of which they are not even aware of. Here’s how you can help your child.