Sports and physical activities are a great way for children to get out their energy in a positive way. It allows them to learn skills and develop focus and concentration in a fun way. Afterwards these skills can then be applied back to learning in the classroom environment. This is why recess is so important in school.
Even though most physical activity is good for children and helps develop their skills, some activities are better than others. Here are some of the best activities to consider for your ADHD child.
Soccer is great for children with ADHD because it is a fast past game that requires a lot of energy. When children are young they have the ability to run all over the field without much structure. Focusing on using their feet to control the ball improves concentration and coordination. As they develop their skills and become older the game becomes more structured as well. They now have to keep in focus what all the other players on the field are doing and the game speeds up teaching them how to think and respond quickly.
Hockey, like soccer is also an endurance game with a lot of activity. Organized hockey has more structure and shorter shifts than soccer, but while on the ice tremendous focus and attention is required. Children develop strong hand eye coordination learning how to stick handle with a puck while skating up the ice. Hockey also requires quick thinking and decision making. ADHD children are better playing a position like center that requires a lot more movement on the ice, rather than sitting in goal and being more passive in the game.
Martial arts are a great outlet for children with ADHD. While it may not be as active as soccer or hockey, it trains the brain to have focus, discipline, and control. Children can develop the ability to control their movement in very specific parts of their body while remaining in balance and generating power. While doing this they create the neural pathways in their brain that they are then able to apply to other activities as well.
Rock climbing provides excitement and adventure for the thrill seeking child. There is a special joy for climbing that children, especially boys have. This activity requires strength, focus, and balance. This activity teaches children how to block out distractions and focus on the next move they need to make to get a little higher on the wall. As children advance in climbing difficulty, they will also learn decision making skills while maintaining body control.
Dance and gymnastics are other positive outlets for a child. Both activities are similar to martial arts in that they require the brain to focus and control specific parts of the body at a time. These activities also have a lot of variety allowing you to choose the right style that matches your child and allows them to explore their creative side as well.
Swimming is a great activity for ADHD children as the water provides a unique environment that allows the hands and legs to be constantly in motion. Children are able to get out their energy, learn to control their body movement, and breathe in unison with their swim strokes. Synchronizing the many different body parts to swim properly requires developing motor skills across the entire body.
While these sports have many benefits for children with ADHD, it is important to try to find the right fit based on the personality and interests of your child. If your child does not enjoy an activity, than it will be difficult for them to acquire the benefits from it. You may have to try several activities and speak with your child before making a final decision.
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