Just like adults, kids need physical activity in their daily lives. A great way to introduce that is through organized sports. In addition, organized sports can help kids grow in many ways. Sports offer chances for kids to learn and master new skills, learn how to take direction, work as a team and challenge themselves. And on top of all that, sports provide natural and fun opportunities for kids to get regular exercise.
But how do you know when your child is ready for team sports? Here are five questions you can ask yourself to help:
1. Does my child have the basic skills (running, throwing, balance, etc.) needed for sports?
During early childhood (3 to 5 years) children can run, jump, throw and catch. However, at this age, it is best to work on improving these skills through active play rather than organized sports.
2. Does my child have a long enough attention span to learn from group instruction?
Before the age of 5, kids tend to have a short attention span and learn best when they can explore, experiment and copy others.
3. What is my child's temperament?
Does he or she like being a member of a team? Or are they more comfortable solo? There are so many sports to choose from — soccer, baseball, tennis, karate, dance and swimming — that there's something for everyone.
4. Does my child show an interest in sports?
The desire to play a sport should be motivation for your child. To find out what your child may like, expose them to different sports by attending a variety of games. Find out which sports their friends are interested in.
5. Are you ready?
Organized sports can be expensive and time-consuming. Make sure you are comfortable committing the money and hours to weekly practices and games.
Although you should share your interests with your kids, it's not a good idea to force them into an activity just because it's what you want. Let your child choose. There's no point in forcing sports on kids if they're not having fun. You want to build a love for activity that lasts a lifetime.
There are also some kids who may just not be interested in team sports, but they can still keep fit by engaging in other activities that don't emphasize competition or a team. Remember, kids should be physically active for at least 60 minutes a day.