Sports Improve Social Skills in Children

It's possible to improve social skills in children through sports as long as they enjoy them constantly. Learn more in today's article.
Sports Improve Social Skills in Children
Andrés Felipe Cardona Lenis

Reviewed and approved by degree in physical education and sports Andrés Felipe Cardona Lenis.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

It’s undeniable that sports offer numerous psychophysical benefits for children. In fact, they even help to improve social skills. But in order to take advantage of these benefits, you first need to encourage your children to choose a sport that’s to their liking.

Sports improve social skills in children

The acquisition of social skills is one of the most important aspects of human development.

You probably haven’t thought about its importance, but these skills allow us to socialize with other people and relate to the environment. And this is something fundamental during childhood.

For this reason, it’s important to emphasize those strategies that promote the development of social skills from an early age, such as sports.

It doesn’t matter so much which practice is chosen, but the most important thing is that the child enjoys it.

It’s also important to evaluate the environment in which your child does sports, as the context can significantly influence the way in which social skills are developed.

What social skills does sport promote?

Playing a sport can offer enormous physical, psychological, and social benefits to your children, but the most important thing is that they feel comfortable and happy with the discipline they choose.

Here are the main social skills that your child can develop through sports:


One of the most relevant social skills in our lives is teamwork. Through it, we not only strengthen interpersonal relationships but also learn to share and respect.

“…sports are the most ideal environment to develop and work on social skills, as in the world of sports, there are many different situations that force people to interact with the environment”

– Carlos Becerra Rivero –

Children putting their hands together before a sport.
Sports influence companionship and cooperation between people. Those joint disciplines favor teamwork, since through them the notion that the good of one is the good of allis instilled.

These values should be taught and reinforced throughout life, but we mustn’t forget that childhood is one of the most sensitive learning stages where everything leaves a deep impression.

Compliance with the rules

One of the most complex aspects to understand in sports is the rules, which are those limits that exist in the activity that’s being carried out.

Regular sports practice from an early age favors this learning in children. Of course, each child will achieve it in their own time, but in the long run, they’ll all understand it.

Sports are a good place to learn concepts such as discipline and respect for others, as well as to reinforce the figure of authority. The proper context will make the child not feel this learning process as rigid and authoritarian, but as a life lesson for their future.

Waiting and turn-taking

Have you ever come across an impatient child? The answer is probably yes since, generally speaking, children tend to be quite impatient and sometimes a bit capricious.

This is probably due to the type of upbringing they’ve had, as well, of course, as their developmental stage. But you shouldn’t despair or give yourself a hard time if this is the case. You just need to rethink how to improve it and find a tool to help them do it.

Sports can be a great solution for this, as they can help your child work on patience, boundaries, and respect for others. Of course it will take time, so you’ll also need to exercise patience if you want to see good results.

Respect for oneself and for others

Respect is one of the most important social skills, as it’s the cornerstone of community life.

In the case of individual sports, children will begin to understand the concept of respect through the figure of the rival. This doesn’t mean seeing them as someone bad, but as a necessary peer in order to be able to play. Someone to compete with and, above all, to value.

If the sport is a team sport, respect will be shown first to their teammates and then to their rivals.

With these foundations in place, children will be able to apply social skills to their daily lives. They’ll soon understand that by respecting other people, they’ll be able to respect themselves for the rest of their lives.

Managing frustration tolerance

The concepts of winning and losing are very relevant in a person’s life. In fact, many adults can’t tolerate defeat and become very frustrated when they don’t achieve victory.

It’s important to work on this issue with children from an early age, so that frustration doesn’t translate into suffering. Fortunately, sport favors this learning as, from the beginning, children deal with the concept of winning or losing. This way, they’re also introduced to the notions of competitiveness.

A boys' soccer team holdingu p a trophy.

“…social skills are a set of specific behaviors and skills that allow us to interact with others. Specific behaviors and skills that allow us to interact with others in a way that’s in the most appropriate way for the situation in which we find ourselves, and in a mutually beneficial way .”

– Eva Marín and Pedro Madrona –

Improve social skills through sport: An enjoyment for them, a responsibility for you

Your children shouldn’t see sports as a burden, as it’s important that they enjoy the activity they’ve freely chosen.

The responsibility lies on you and consists of supporting them, accompanying them, listening to them, and encouraging them. This way, you’ll be able to notice the progress and the acquisition of new social skills.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.