Learn how to find the best sport for your kids.
We all know that sport is good for us and in fact, most of us could probably do with doing a lot more activity than we already are. Physical activity is essential for children. Obviously, it’s excellent for weight management, but it also promotes a lifetime of well-being and health. When kids are small they have a natural ability, and they want to play, they want to be active, they want to join in.
And that is a great way to start them on a path of sport. Using their natural energy and putting into something productive.
Your children are much more likely to take part in sport or do you sport in general if you lay down the right foundations to begin with. They do need to see their parents being active and busy. So it becomes a natural part of their life, rather than something that they feel they are forced to do in school.
When it comes to finding the best sport for your children, it almost starts with you.
Before your children even get into school, the chances are you are helping them play football, learning to catch, and running and jumping. But as they grow and start doing sport in school, the chances are you didn’t take part as much anymore.
However, it is never too late to join in again. And, most sports are designed for teamwork.
For more on this topic, check out the full Sports collection
Benefits of Sports for Kids
Children benefit from sports in critical developmental areas:
- Improved self-esteem
- Improvement in critical thinking skills
- Increased awareness of how to support a team and what is right and wrong
- Improved self-discipline
- Increased strength
And those are just a few of the areas. When children really get into sports, they need to make specific lifestyle changes in order to make sure that they have the correct amount of energy to complete those sports.
You can help guide your children into the sports that are going to be best for them, and in some cases, you can even take part outside of school. Taking children to the playground and letting them run around is one of the first steps to keep them active. But you can also do bike riding, swimming, even walking will get them engaged. And if you take part in that once every day or a few times a week, this lays the right foundations for fitness and health.
[ Read: 10 Reasons Kids Should Play Sports ]
Sports for Kids Under Five Years Old
If you happen to know a toddler that has boundless energy, then you probably have thought about many ways to help then burn that off. They already like to run, climb, and play, but they’re still learning skills like hand-eye coordination and how to follow the rules. Children within this age group, under-fives, typically benefit from activities that will help them build gross and fine motor skills. It is important not to get frustrated with the under-fives group when they won’t follow the rules of the sport or game that you’re playing.
This is more about being involved with them for periods of time and encouraging their activity. As well as helping to burn off some of that energy. When you actively take part in basic sports like rolling a ball or kicking a softball, you are helping your child to build body awareness and self-confidence. They learn to trust their skills, and this will come into play later when it comes to more organized sports.
There are a lot of fun sports for adventurous children that are under five years old:
- Bike riding
- Learning to swim
- Some contact martial arts
You can also find smaller sports groups in and around the area. There are often many team sports that will take under-fives. And these are quite simple sports to get started with. They are easy on the hand-eye coordination, and give skills that can grow.
Try to take into consideration your child’s personality so they might not really enjoy team sports, but could enjoy running.
Sports for Kids Over Five Years Old
As children get older, you’ll notice they get a lot more developed. Their individual interest will now come into play too. It is imperative that you let them discover a wide range of activities. But also help guide them towards sports that are most suited towards their abilities, personality, and age. It should also be noted that now is the time to take into consideration your budget and how much time you have to dedicate to sports groups and practices.
Most school-age children will now take part in group sports anyway. So you will be able to see where their interests lie. They will learn how to master specific skills and work as a team. As well as build a healthy outlook for competition.
However, between the ages of five and seven, children are likely to get frustrated by some of the challenges that sport presents, and it is not uncommon for them to also want to quit. So it is very important that you help them select activities.
Many parents might believe that forcing their child to keep taking part in a sport they hate is going to work; however, quite often, it doesn’t. It will create negative emotions when taking part in the sport.
There are a few team sports that are particularly popular for the 5 and up age group:
- Soccer/football- this is great because you can take part in this; all you need is a field or a backyard to join in.
- Basketball – If you have a space at home, you can fix a basketball hoop on the outside walls. Which means you can also take part in a one-on-one.
- Baseball – you might think that you don’t have the room for baseball, but if you get a batting tee and a net, these don’t take up too much room and can really help the training needs of baseball players.
You will often be able to notice a child who doesn’t really enjoy team sports but excels in individual sports. There are a number of individual sports that would be great:
- Martial arts
- Track and field
When your children get older, they will likely become more competitive and have a strong preference for either team sports or individual sports. So you will need to have some conversations about how committed they are because often sports as they get into their teens can cost a lot of money. But they can also open a lot of doors.
There are some notably expensive sports to play when it comes to playing at a competitive level. These are ice hockey, football, baseball, and ice hockey.
Traditionally swimming and track or cross country running cost a lot less.
However, some children find themselves very drawn to a particular sport. When it comes to sport specialization, there can be overuse injuries. Different sports put different pressures on the body and different ways of moving. So it pays to have at least two or three different kinds of sports with one as the primary focus.
This will keep all of the muscles toned and healthy. However, you will need to make sure that your child has adequate rest and great nutrition in order to support their sports lifestyle. When your child’s teams get into competitive sports, you might find yourself on the sidelines rather than taking part, but this is the perfect way to support them.
Engaging in physical activity is something that you can do as a whole family until your child, and you find the best sport for them.
For more on this topic, check out the full Sports collection
Expert parenting advice & resources from Adore Them