Once your kids have mastered the art of walking and running, it’s important to keep them up and active to work on developing their hand-eye coordination and body awareness.
This can be accomplished with playtime and some help from the family, but for many, the best way to ensure their kids are practicing these skills is to get them involved with organized sports.
Whether we’re talking about team or individual sports, having a regularly scheduled activity can help both their physical and mental development.
The best sports will work on motor skills, teach the value of hard work, improve cardiovascular health, facilitate teamwork, and much more.
However, it’s essential to take your time when considering what sport is best for your child.
You don’t want to push your child too hard too fast, and you want to avoid experiences that will turn them off of sports and exercise in the future.
What we’ll look at today are sports and activities that will be good for young athletes. We want to focus on sports that are fun and provide the kind of positive environment that your child needs for healthy development.
Let’s first look at some general tips for this kind of a decision, and then review the specific sports you might want to try.
The first and most important thing that we need to get straight is this: every parent must understand that there is no such thing as a sport or activity that is 100% safe.
No matter what your kids try, there will be a small chance they’ll get a bump or bruise while on the field.
One of my friend’s older kids managed to cut her chin open, requiring 12 stitches, at a marching band practice. Marching band.
Small injuries are going to be part of life, whether your children play sports or not.
However, some sports carry a much higher acute risk for injury than others.
These types of sports are better to avoid for our young, developing athletes.
Picking a League
Finally, I’m going to speak generally about the kind of ‘environment’ created by certain sports, but you must understand that this environment can vary wildly from league to league and coach to coach.
Before you decide to get involved in any sport, talk to coaches and talk to parents who are already in the athletic league your considering.
You want to find a healthy mix of competitiveness and perspective – in the best leagues, the parents will show up to cheer but never get in arguments.
Also, consider the practice environment as well. Always try to sit in on one of your child’s first practices.
If the coach will not let you sit in on a practice, that’s a red flag. As you move forward with a sport, be sure to talk to your kids.
Talk about how they feel about the coach, the other players, and listen to what they have to say.
That’s a lot to think about, but it’s all very important to know before you make any sporting decision. Let’s look at a few examples of sports that might work out well for your little ones.
There’s a reason soccer is one of the most popular youth sports in the country! Lets just say it’s not just the orange slices at halftime.
Soccer, especially at the beginner level, is an excellent cardio workout disguised as a game.
Two halves of play where your child is always in motion; it’s as if a kindly gym teacher designed this sport!
You’ll be able to find a youth league pretty much anywhere in the world that your child can join. So look for a good one and get involved.
Sometimes parents assume this sport is more dangerous than it is.
However, if you can find a good coach who leads a program that caters to young athletes, gymnastics is very safe.
Only once your child is ready will the move on to more difficult disciplines. And of course, only if they are interested!
Gymnastics incorporates flexibility, strength, speed, and balance. Body awareness is also a fantastic benefit of this sport. Overall, gymnastics is an excellent, well-rounded sport.
One of the best cardio workouts you can find, swimming is a great way to have fun while playing an organized sport.
It improves cardiovascular fitness and self-confidence with learning new skills and fosters healthy new friendships with teammates.
Again, it’s popular for a reason! Get your child out in the fresh air to play one of the best team sports in the world.
One of my favorite parts of youth baseball is that many leagues offer co-ed options at least at their first few levels.
I like the concept of showing children that both boys and girls can be great athletes who love athletics. Baseball is also an excellent way to work on hand-eye coordination, speed, and camaraderie.
This sport is a great option if you have a little one who isn’t exactly interested in the more traditional team sports. As an added bonus, the season never ends!
Your child will be able to continue this sport regularly, and consistency is essential for developing a lifelong active lifestyle.
Look for a school that will do an excellent job of instilling discipline and respect in your child. We don’t want them using their high-kicks out on the playground!
Most Importantly: Have Fun!
These are all examples of sports you might want to check out. However, the most critical thing you can do is talk with your child and find out their interests.
No matter how great the exercise is, your child won’t get anything out of their sport if they hate going to practice. So find something they’ll enjoy and watch them flourish!