I hardly need to persuade you that there is value in your child being engaged in physically enhancing, mentally challenging and emotionally strengthening activities. Neither would I need to argue a case for professionally structured and managed events, that have been designed specifically to deliver life-affirming results for children, being better than them going to a place that is simply there to ‘keep them busy’.

Of course, there may be a cost element to consider in making a choice over who looks after your children, during school holidays for example. And you may have preconceptions over how much it costs to get your children involved in a sports course – but consider the lifelong, cumulative benefits of that option for a moment.

Sports education is for life, not just the holidays

Studies are increasingly showing two things when it comes to the physical health of children in this, and other Westernised countries. Starting with the positive observation, the latest research consistently highlights the unequivocal links between physical, mental and emotional health. Alongside this, scientists are discovering that health and exercise habits in the early years and teenage years for any person will have the most significant and ongoing impact on the rest of their lives. Yes, people can decide to get fit in their thirties, forties and fifties – but in most cases, the damage has already been done.

The second and most worrying scientifically proven observation is that the standard of health of our young people has been falling year-on-year for decades…

So, why not invest in your children’s health by occasionally swapping ordinary ‘keep them busy’ activities and childcare for something that will benefit the rest of their lives?

What to look for in choosing a sports course for maximum benefit

There are six main things to look for when choosing the most beneficial sports courses for your child’s future:

  1. Staff qualifications: Do the staff who are running the course have a Level 1 and 2 (as a minimum) Sports Coaching qualification from a National Governing Body (NGB) or UKCC?
  2. Safe location: Is the site where the course is being held an Ofsted registered site?
  3. Safe environment: Do the staff running the course have DBS and first aid certificates and are there responsible people at the site to meet and greet children as they arrive?
  4. Online representation: Is the organisation that is responsible for the course well represented online, with a good website that explains exactly what they do and the standards they’ve committed to maintaining?
  5. Reviews and recommendations: Does the organisation have good reviews from other parents and children who have attended their courses?
  6. Professionalism: First impressions count for a lot – so how does an organisation make you feel about them after your first contact or visit to their site (phone calls and staff meetings are important too).

When it comes to investing in your children’s future, there really should not be any shortcuts or chances taken. Of course, there is a higher cost to sports courses than regular childcare, and you might not want to take that option every time – but when you do, make sure you invest wisely.