Determining the Right Sport for Your Child
Choosing a sport your child will enjoy and benefit from can have numerous positive effects on this physical and mental well-being. There are several factors that should be taken into account when determining which sport might be best for your child, including what interests him or her, age and physical abilities, as well as the financial and time commitment required. Pursuing organized sports and athletics can help build social skills, self-confidence, discipline as well as provide an opportunity for regular physical activity and an outlet for consuming energy. Be sure to take the following into consideration when choosing a sport for your child.
Determining what sport or sports your child is interested in is the best place to start the decision making process. Does he or she have a specific sport in mind? If not, would they like to be involved in team sports or individual sports? Something played inside on a court or outside in the elements? Gauging your child’s curiosity and enthusiasm for a particular activity is a simple yet effective first step.
Much of the physical ability and motor skills necessary for a sport is age dependent during childhood. For example, children under age five are not usually effective at throwing and catching, while children between six and nine years of age have often mastered basic motor skills, balance, strength and flexibility. A combination of innate motor ability, as well as learned motor skills, age, height, body type and overall endurance can be helpful indicators of whether or not a child will excel at a certain sport. Don't forget, while children certainly do not need to excel at a sport to enjoy playing, choosing something that will be confidence boosting is a plus.
Cost and time
What level of commitment are you and your family willing and able to contribute to a sport is an essential piece of the puzzle in decision making. Determining how much time your child has and desires to put into joining a team is an important factor, but the time commitment of your entire family is also a consideration. While some sports may require only a once per week practice and a few games, others can quickly become the central focus of a family’s time. Just as with time, financial requirements vary from sport to sport with some only asking for a participation fee and others requiring equipment, uniforms and even travel expenses.
Choosing a sport for your child doesn't necessarily mean a long-term commitment and many children try several sports just for fun. As a parent, using these guidelines to gauge their interests, physical abilities and your family’s means will help determine the right choice for your child.