If you’re a parent, you may be wondering how to keep your child athlete healthy this year — without becoming an overbearing helicopter parent. Luckily, we’ve got you covered.
If your child has been showing a growing interest in participating in sports lately and getting healthy, they certainly won’t be alone. Over 36 million kids in the U.S. play organized sports each year, and that number keeps growing. Joining a sport as a kid can be a great way to stay healthy, but there are always some health and injury risks as well if you’re not careful. Here are a few ways you can make sure your child stays safe when participating in a sport, team or otherwise.
Try New Training Methods
One of the biggest reasons child athletes find themselves burning out or even getting injured is due to overuse of certain body parts. This happens more often in certain sports than others; this is why you see many little league pitchers suffering from elbow injuries, as they’ve overused the muscles and joints involved in repeated fast pitching.
To avoid overusing certain muscles and areas of the body, encourage your child to try new training methods that will still help them get in shape without causing further damage. For kids needing to build muscle while also working on cardiovascular fitness, HIIT can be helpful. High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, workouts generally last about 30 minutes and are designed as full-body exercises, so no one part of the body gets burned out too quickly.
Get Proper Gear
The right equipment for a workout can make a huge difference in your child’s safety. With the wrong safety gear or even workout equipment, your child might be risking injury due to improper form or just simple accidents during a training session. When your child joins a new sport, help them do research on what equipment is involved so they can find the best equipment possible. If buying new equipment is too expensive, see if your child can borrow properly fitting equipment from a friend or classmate.
Allow For Recovery Time
Sometimes, injuries do happen; unfortunately, that’s just a part of many sports, as accidents can happen. If your child does get hurt while training, make sure you give them plenty of time to recover before letting them start training again. This will keep them from worsening an existing injury through overuse or poor form.
The amount of time your child will need to take off from their sport will depend on the nature of the injury. Bone fractures, for example, usually heal in two to ten weeks, while some injuries only need a few days to heal. Follow your doctor’s instructions for specific care following an injury, and wait the full amount of time recommended before allowing your kid to start practicing again.
Stick To Routine Checkups
If your child is active in sports on a regular basis, they should make frequent checkups a normal part of their healthcare routine. Visiting medical professionals regularly can help spot health issues that would develop from sports over time and make sure your child gets treatment before an injury has a chance to worsen. Don’t forget your dentist visits as well, as some sports can pose a risk to your child’s jaw and teeth. The AAPD recommends that kids and teens see a pediatric dentist every six months, but if your child is at risk of jaw or tooth damage, you may want to visit even more frequently.
As a parent, it can be difficult to know how to keep your kid safe as they start a new sport. However, these tips can let you stay confident that your kid will be happy, healthy, and safe while discovering their new hobby. Sports can be a great way for children to stay active, so encourage them to get involved whenever you get the chance.