Regularly playing sports is a great way for your kids to stay active and energised this summer. At the same time, team and contact sports can teach your kids a lot about working together, staying healthy and solving problems on the fly. To ensure your kids get the most out of the experience and stay safe as they go about their games, it's important to teach your kids a number of ways they can mitigate potential risk factors. This includes following certain pre- and post-game routines, such as warming up and cooling down, using particular pieces of safety equipment, and recognising any signs of injury that can indicate they should probably take a break for a little while.
Warm up and cool down
This is hammered into most kids during their physical education classes but is something that should be reinforced outside of school as well. Whether you're a veteran athlete or just starting out, warming up and stretching before a match or any form of recreational exercise is essential. Not only does warming up physically and mentally wake you up before you begin, but it also gets the blood flowing and loosens up the joints and muscles to prevent any cramps or other injuries. Cooling down exercises after the match are equally important as they can help you avoid common feelings of nausea or dizziness.
Protect yourself with the right equipment
Before you let your child start a new contact sport or recreational activity, make sure you read up about the types of safety equipment they'll need. While some sports and activities, such as hockey, skateboarding, and biking, require a helmet to prevent head injuries, others call for elbow and shin guards, protective cups, and even eye protection or face guards. Adding to this, the importance of mouth guards cannot be over-stressed. According to the Colgate Company, mouth guards can effectively prevent common oral injuries, such as tooth chipping or fracturing, and head related trauma, such as concussions. While many contact sports, such as rugby, soccer, basketball and others, list mouth guards as a mandatory requirement, it's important to check your kid is using their mouth guards even when they're just playing with a couple of friends for fun.
Know when to quit
Finally, you and your child should know when it's time to take a break. This includes when your child seems tired, dehydrated, hurt and limping, or worn out from too much running. Recognising signs of poor performance or injury early can prevent more serious injuries from occurring later on. Educate your child about what to look out for and ensure their games are supervised either by you or someone else, especially if they're very young.
Sports can be incredibly fun for children of all ages. Guaranteeing their safety means they'll be able to stay fit and enjoy themselves without you worrying.