Regular, structured extra-curricular sports help children develop self-regulation and stay focused in the classroom as they grow up, says a study.
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"By the time they reached the fourth grade, kids who played structured sports were identifiably better at following instructions and remaining focused in the classroom," said lead researcher Linda Pagani from the University of Montreal.
"There is something specific to the sporting environment - perhaps the unique sense of belonging to a team to a special group with a common goal - that appears to help kids understand the importance of respecting the rules and honoring responsibilities," Pagani said.
The researchers worked with information provided by parents and teachers to compare kindergarteners' activities with their classroom engagement as they grew up.
The researchers reviewed the data on 2,694 children who were born in Quebec, Canada between 1997 and 1998.
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"We found that those children who were specifically involved in team sports at kindergarten scored higher in self-regulation by the time they reached fourth-grade."
The researchers believe that sporting activities and attention skills go hand in hand and can be addressed simultaneously in school planning.