There are a host of benefits for children’s involvement in sports. With childhood myopia on the rise, what can parents do to ensure this doesn’t affect children’s holistic growth?
Participation in sports – be it competitive or recreational – is key to helping our children achieve holistic growth. Holistic development is something that educators and professionals advocate for all the time. Many parents are also aware of the need to pay equal attention to all aspects of growth instead of focusing on just a child’s academic abilities. Research has shown that the positive effects of sports go beyond just physical fitness. Kids who are active in sports demonstrate improvement in academic grades, positive behaviour, as well as strong relationships with their peers.
However, we, as parents, also have to be aware of the growing prevalence of childhood myopia. This condition (also called nearsightedness) poses certain challenges for our children when it comes to playing sports, indirectly affecting their ability to reach their full potential. What’s more ‒- if the progression of myopia is not slowed, there is a higher risk of sight-threatening complications in later life. But fret not – there are ways to manage myopia, and we’re here to share them with you…
Sports keep children physically and mentally healthy
We understand that studies show a strong correlation between a child’s participation in sports and improvement in their overall development. But what is it about sports that makes it so great for a child’s growth?
The most obvious and well known benefit of sports is that it keeps our children physically active. Being active helps with their physical growth: strengthening bones and muscles, as well as keeping certain diseases away. The act of exercising and playing sports also releases ‘happy hormones’ that lower a child’s stress levels, which makes them feel relaxed and cheerful.
Aside from that, children pick up soft skills like collaboration, resilience, and critical thinking through playing sports. And most sports, if not all, require kids to strategise, think critically, and develop resilience throughout the duration of the activity. These skills can be used not just on the pitch but in the classroom and beyond too!
In short, being active in sports helps our children develop holistically. It boosts our children’s physical health and social emotional wellbeing – a win, win!
Homeground Sports Ambassador Isa Halim, who’s also a former player in Singapore’s national football team, is no stranger to the benefits of sports. “Sports, particularly football, played a pivotal role in shaping my childhood and teenage years. I found solace and joy in the game. Football taught me the value of teamwork, discipline, and perseverance, and it provided me with a sense of purpose and belonging. The camaraderie and competitive spirit that football fostered in me have had a lasting impact on my life,” he shared.
Working as a coach now, Isa imparts the importance of sports and staying active through fun, inclusive, and varied training sessions. He said, “I aim to ignite their passion for sports and keep them motivated. I also encourage parents to be actively involved in their children’s sporting activities, as their support and encouragement play a vital role in nurturing a love for sports. Through my coaching experience, I have witnessed numerous positive changes in the children and youths I worked with. These include improvement in their physical fitness and overall health, the building of strong friendships, and fosters a sense of community.”
Childhood myopia affects our children’s performance in sports
You may think we’re exaggerating, but myopia is a growing global epidemic. A former Senior Minister from the Ministry of Health even mentioned that Singapore is labelled as the “myopia capital of the world”. He also cited a shocking statistic: 65% of Singapore children are myopic by Primary 6 (age 12) – a very scary stat for us parents. The Myopia Research Group at Singapore Eye Research Institute even found that 80% of children will be myopic by 18 years old.
Children with myopia experience symptoms like eye fatigue, as they have to strain and squint their eyes to see. Naturally, this affects their performance in sports, where vision is one of the main senses that they depend on.
A common way to deal with childhood myopia is through standard vision-correcting spectacles. As the term suggests, this method helps children to regain clearer vision. However, this doesn’t stop myopia from worsening.
We can act early and slow the progression of childhood myopia
Myopia tends to increase sharply during our children’s growth spurts. But the good news is there are ways to slow the progression of myopia. As parents, it’s our job to act early to help our child manage myopia effectively. Not only does this prevent myopia from worsening, but we’ll also be removing the barriers when it comes to developing their full sports abilities.
The Health Promotion Board recommends good eye habits to counter the development of myopia. This includes spending at least two hours outdoors, increasing indoor lighting, and taking frequent eye breaks. Specially designed myopia control soft contact lenses can also be used to manage myopia, which optometrists have found can prevent it from worsening. Myopia control soft contact lenses, like Johnson & Johnson Vision’s ACUVUE Abiliti, are specially made for kids as young as seven. Its 1-Day lenses have been shown to be able to reduce axial elongation (excessive elongation of the eyeball, which leads to myopia) in just six months.
In fact, myopia control soft contact lenses are a great option for kids for their general active lifestyle. This is especially helpful for kids engaged in sports as it allows for more freedom of movement. Furthermore, ACUVUE Abiliti helps to slow down myopia and provides better peripheral vision compared to spectacles. ACUVUE Abiliti also has an Overnight lens that’s customised to each individual’s eyes. This lens type is suitable for children who are into water sports, or for those who prefer to be lens-free in the day. These are orthokeratology lenses, designed to be worn overnight to temporarily reshape the cornea. This allows your child to see clearly during the day without glasses or contact lenses. ACUVUE Abiliti Overnight lenses are able to provide myopia control as well.
Managing myopia effectively during their growing years keeps our kids unstoppable
Kids move fast, myopia can too. ACUVUE Abiliti keeps our kids unstoppable to ensure a holistic growth. It gives children with myopia clearer vision, comfort, and freedom of movement especially while playing sports, at the same time slowing the progression of myopia. This allows them to excel in sports and achieve their full potential, leading to holistic development and success.
When asked if he has any words of advice for kids who doesn’t feel confident playing sports, Isa said, “Start small and progress gradually, as small achievements and improvements over time can boost your confidence. Focus on personal growth instead of comparison of abilities and achievements, as abilities can be developed through effort and every challenge is an opportunity for growth. Last but not least, always remember that teamwork and participation trumps all. We should always assure our children that their contribution to the team goes beyond physical attributes.”
Discover your child’s sporting skills with ACUVUE Abiliti and Homeground
Interested in getting your child into sports? ACUVUE Abiliti x Homeground’s Sports Without Boundaries event is the perfect opportunity for them to discover their sporting skills and interests. But it’s not just for kids – parents can join in the fun too! Details here:
Date: 17 or 18 June 2023
Time: 9am till 6pm (choose a time slot for the best experience)
Venue: Homeground Sports, 200 Woodlands Industrial Pk E7, Singapore 757177
Price: $20 per child
This is a great sports carnival for children aged seven to 12, though younger or older kids are welcomed as well. Try out a series of sports activities that train their hand-eye coordination and agility to accuracy by engaging in sports such as tennis, basketball, rugby, and archery through drills taught in sports classes. What’s more, every child will receive a complimentary comprehensive eye examination worth $80, goodie bag, and completion certificate (total worth up to $140).
Sign up today for your preferred date and time slot to secure your spot!
This post is in partnership with ACUVUE Abiliti.