Sport contributes to children having good experiences in their leisure time. They should feel a sense of mastery and development in the activities. Sport is an arena for meeting other children and making new friends. Children also learn how to cooperate with others, achieve structure, work to achieve common goals and tackle setbacks. Children are spending more time indoors than previously. This means it’s important to encourage activity from a health perspective, so children maintain better physical form.
Sport is the largest recreational arena for children and young people in Norway. Many children up to the age of 12 participate in sport, but several drop out in their teenage years. Norway is a leading nation for winter sports, and the winter sports have a strong position in Norway. Football is the largest sport in Norway for both girls and boys. There are many sports activities to choose between, as well as recreational activities in culture. Playing a musical instrument, singing in a choir or doing drama are examples of this.
All children are different and have different interests. As a parent or guardian, it’s important you help your child find a recreational arena that he or she can enjoy. Many children start recreational activities when they start school, but this varies. The aim is for children to have good experiences in their chosen activity. This can be an organised or non-organised activity. Children learn a lot through play and non-organised activities, and you can facilitate this by taking them somewhere outdoors. A walk in the forest or along the shoreline gives children many motor challenges they don’t always experience indoors.
One organised sports practice per week will not compensate for activity and play every day. Activities can include walking to school, cycling or general outdoor play. Children need to be active and research shows that children in Norway are now spending more time than previously doing indoor, non-physical activities such as playing video games and watching TV. Learning to master one’s body through various activities is important for everyone, and this can impact on how one masters life as one gets older. It’s important for everyone to take care of their health and physical form and activity plays an important role in this. Activity also plays a preventive role for many diseases so, in this respect, sport is an important contributor from a health perspective.
As children develop, grow and learn at different paces, what is right for some children may not be right for others. However, good experiences increase the chance that children will enjoy their recreational activity for a long time – and in some cases the interest lasts a lifetime. Sport is also a learning arena for children and young people, and they learn far more than just sports skills. Sport is an arena where your child will make friends and build networks, and where you as an adult will also get to know other parents.
If you have recently moved to Norway and need to learn the language, sport also provides an excellent arena for both you and your children to practice Norwegian. By participating in sport, your child will make new friends with different children than he or she meets at school, which is also an important value. They will also learn important life skills like how to be in a team, cooperate with others, achieve structure, work to achieve common goals and tackle setbacks. The goal in sport is for the child to be in a safe sports environment with clear and caring adults. Coaches and parents work together to ensure that this environment is inclusive and safe for everyone. This applies to all sports whether it’s at children’s, youth or adult level.
The youngest children generally have 1-2 organised practices per week, but this increases as the children get older. Youth who choose to specialise in a specific sport at a more elite level often practice 5-7 days per week. It’s possible for children to participate in several sports at the same time but this is individual and depends on various factors such as the child’s interests, his or her family and what the local sports clubs offer. You will also find facilities and offers that are open for non-organised activities, such as indoor swimming pools, skating rinks and football halls.
Having a meaningful recreation is important for your child. Perhaps they will find an interest to continue for the rest of their lives. Your child, as well as you as a parent or guardian, will gain a larger network. Your child will learn various basic skills and will be together with other safe adults. It’s important that you help your child to find out what he or she enjoys doing. Sometimes finding out what they don’t enjoy is equally as important as finding something they like and enjoy.