Children with ADHD Can Benefit from Playing Team Sports and Games

 

Change to "Child psychologists feel that sharing group experiences with teammates or classmates can help improve a child’s interactions with others in social settings. Many researchers also say children who have ADHD can successfully participate in these activities and greatly benefit from them. Some studies by child psychologists provide evidence to this belief. The progress for all children in these activities will carry over to other areas of life—in the classroom, among friends and at home with siblings.

Being part of a team can help your child to focus better, while also being able to enjoy being a part of an activity with his or her friends.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of team games and activities for children and how parents can set their children with ADHD up for success.

 

The benefits for kids

Research throughout the years has shown that playing games and sports is helpful in mitigating common symptoms of ADHD, especially for children, as it provides them with increased structure and focus in their lives outside of school.

Researchers have in the past had some concerns about children with ADHD getting involved in team-based activities, as their greater impulsiveness and difficulty focusing could make it tougher for them to work as a group with their team members.

However, experts generally agree that the benefits of playing in groups far outweigh the risks and potential drawbacks. Playing team games and sports can be extremely beneficial for children with ADHD who have slower-developing motor skills and who often have problems managing their frustration. Games that get kids up and moving are an excellent way to develop children in both of these areas, while giving them an outlet to get exercise and sharpen their focus.

These benefits show up in the classroom as well. Some children with ADHD have difficulty in school because they find it hard to focus on the teacher or their schoolwork. Doing well in gym class or extracurricular games and sports can give a child positive feedback he or she might not get in the classroom, and according to researchers, that positive feedback is “intoxicating” and almost addictive. Kids will work harder to receive more of that positive feedback—both in their game and in the classroom.

 

Tips for parents

Doctors and researchers have these recommendations for parents of children with ADHD who wish to participate in team activities:

  • Make sure the activity is the right fit, and that it will give them opportunities for success and keep them mentally engaged.

  • Consider finding a way to give your child a task to keep him or her engaged and busy when there’s downtime. This could include keeping score, tracking plays or helping bring water to teammates.

  • Be encouraging whenever you have a child who wants to play team games, and help him or her manage any challenges that might arise.

 

These studies indicate you don’t have to have any serious reservations about your child getting involved with team-based activities—the benefits far outweigh the risks. Be supportive and set your child up for success, and your child could experience a positive transformation in his or her life and in the classroom.

Joshua Chernikoff