So, you decided to enroll your child in a sports activity, in hope of keeping them active and improving their life. However, simply signing them up for something doesn’t mean your work ends there. It takes patience, care and active tracking of how your child feels to know if it actually works for them. Wanting the best for your kid means involvement, but also letting them find their own preference. And in the sea of possibilities, how to know which sport to choose? This is where we come in, with a brief age-by-age guide on the best sports for your kids.
First comes first
Love for sports comes from a lot of trial and error. Don’t be afraid to let your child quit a sport they don’t like, or want to try something new. Let the choice be theirs, and you keep on the sidelines as a supporter that gets to introduce them to all the fun activities they could do. If nurtured right, their love for the sport will change their childhood for the better – they’ll learn how to win and lose with dignity, more readily accept challenges and learn to push themselves. Without further ado, let’s start with the best sports for different age groups.
Seeing how kids still have to master basic motor skills at this stage of development, the unrestricted free play could be the best choice. Their coordination is still not good enough to master dance moves or karate techniques, and their attention span won’t last as long as one training session. This is a crucial moment where you need to spend as much time being active with your child and getting to know his or her strong suits, as they will come in handy when choosing the right sport later on. For now, stick to throwing, running, catching, tumbling, and simple exercises wrapped in playtime.
Once they start school, kids begin to gradually improve their attention span and concentration, which are crucial for more organized sports. Their hand-eye coordination is improved, they’re more open in following directions and will focus somewhat more on the joint cause of the training session than goofing around with other kids, like when they were a toddler. Depending on how much of a team player your child is, you can go for team-based sports, such as basketball, baseball, soccer or dancing. If they prefer working alone, but still being part of a team, there’s always swimming, fencing, tennis, and more.
Ages 11 and up
This is the critical age where your child is physically advancing and can take more demanding tasks, as well as think strategically. However, this age also gives them independence on what kind of sport they’d prefer, or if they even want to train anything. If they decide to quit – don’t despair. There are plenty of activities as a replacement – organized hiking, swimming, skateboarding, and bike riding. Not to mention that there are great value bicycle deals for families so you can organize weekly rides to not only support your child’s choice but to also include the whole family.
Last but not least
Never lose sight of what matters. It’s easy to become engulfed by your child’s successes and failures and convince yourself to know what’s best for them. While it mostly is true, only they know the physical exertion, the mental stress and the amount of fun a certain sport brings them. So be patient, open-minded and let them have fun. If done right, parenting a little sports enthusiast can enrich both of your lives, and you’ll get to watch them grow into amazing grownups.