Picking the perfect sport isn't easy
Kids have a lot of energy to burn, and their bodies need to move for health. The best way to cover both needs is to ensure they have the opportunity to exercise every day. Getting outside and engaging in unstructured play is great when they are preschool age. As they get older, they often channel energy into a youth sports program. You can help your child choose which sport to join by exposing them to a variety of different options.
When you watch sports together on T.V. or, even better, attend a live competition, pay attention to the activities in which they show the most interest. By measuring their excitement level over a particular sport, you can help them choose what to try. The ultimate goal is to find something your child enjoys, which means doing your best not to push them in any one direction.
Solo vs. team options
As your child is experimenting with different activities, notice whether they gravitate toward team sports that require each participant to play a role, like soccer, football and baseball or those that are more individual, like tennis, golf and swimming. Some children prefer the opportunity to challenge their individual skill sets, while others love to compete as a group.
Helping kids pick the right sport can be difficult for parents who either played a sport themselves or felt they missed out on an opportunity. It's vital to remove yourself from the equation and let your child take the lead. They may surprise you by showing tremendous aptitude for an activity with which neither you nor your partner have any experience. It's exciting to find out what they decide when given the freedom to choose their own path.
It's not all about winning
There are so many benefits of playing sports for kids. Sports involve getting regular exercise and being around others; both of which are good for their physical as well as mental health and wellness. The camaraderie they feel with fellow teammates often leads to friendships that continue outside the sport.
Being on a team is also an excellent opportunity for kids to learn discipline. When your child participates in a sport, they are required to attend and be on time for the practices and competitions, while also keeping up on their schoolwork. Balancing both requirements helps them develop a sense of responsibility and learn time management skills.
Once you've helped them find the right sport, get involved to show your support. If you're familiar with the skills they'll need to master, practicing together at home may help your child learn quickly. If the sport is new to you as well, why not learn at the same time? The more you demonstrate an interest in healthy habits like getting plenty of exercise and eating a good diet, the better the chance your child will develop the same healthy routines.