Go Out and Play: Getting Your Kids Into Sports

With all their energy and life, children seem like they’ll stay active forever. Getting an hour of exercise every day is easy enough when they have an open field of grass and some friends to play with – but sooner or later, your child may get caught up playing video games.

Or watching TV or browsing the web when they could have been outside, and before you know it, those kids are making the same excuses you and I make when we want to be lazy; there’s no time for activities because it was spent elsewhere.

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Even if your child enjoys team sports now, it’s common to meet a fork in the road at one point of their sports career. Some may go on and continue playing into their teen years, while others lose their interest completely and take up other hobbies.

Here is how you can make sure your children stay active and get off the couch once in a while, even when they’re older than thirteen.

It’s not all about winning

Children will want to be active on the field even if they’re not going to win those trophies for football – but it would be a nice encouragement as well, though. It’s really all about having fun and making it enjoyable, and most children will lose their interest in it completely if they’re not enjoying it anymore even if they keep winning.

Activities are not about exercising when you’re a kid; it’s about having fun. Push them into something they’re not that into, and they’re likely to get frustrated and see it as a chore. Find an activity they have fun with, and they will be a lot more likely to stick with it.

It’s kind of the same with us adults, right? We have just found ways of manipulating ourselves into doing things we don’t enjoy, for some reason.

Basic and non-competitive

When your child is between six and eight years old, it’s a great idea to expose them to a variety of sports. That’s what schools are excellent for, and your child has a lot of opportunities for finding an activity they enjoy with their friends. Parents need to keep in mind that their children won’t be very coordinated yet, though, and they have only mastered the basic physical skills.

Competition is no point at this age and some parents end up having too high expectations to what their kids can master when there’s a pressure of winning involved. They’re not ready to handle these expectations yet, and you may end up ruining a sport they could have enjoyed if they were allowed to have fun with it instead.

In a few years, around age nine to twelve, your children will have developed finer physical skills. It means that they can perfect their free throws, master coordination that may get them ahead of the competition, and even understand the rules a lot better. This is when it makes sense to make the game competitive, and your children will have fun enough with it to keep pushing forward when they win.

It’s the difference between a seven-year-old, aimlessly tossing the ball towards the net and a twelve-year-old throwing a perfect free throw.

A lot of changes happen during these couple of years and your ability to understand this, as a parent, may be a factor in deciding whether they continue with the sport or not.


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