Should My Child Play Sports?
Sports are a great way for children to have fun while staying fit, but finding a sport that your child loves may not be easy for some. If you read Part 1 of this series, you’ll know that I don’t believe that all people were meant to play sports. This is no big revelation, but sometimes parents seem to forget all about it when the latest sports season rolls around.
Children should be active to be healthy. No argument there. However, staying active does not have to include team sports. Individual sports or participating in solitary fitness activities like walking or dancing are great ways for children to stay healthy while getting the movement their bodies need each day.
Are Team Sports Right For Your Child?
When we think of children playing sports, we most often think of football, baseball, soccer, or basketball. These are all great sports for children to play, but not all children will enjoy playing team sports.
I was one of those children who loved being active, but disliked playing team sports. My favorite sport to play was tennis — singles only, please! I loved to compete, but being on a field or a court with a slew of other people and having to coordinate my movements and efforts with those people did not appeal to me.
Individual sports are a great way for children who aren’t interested in team sports to be active and utilize their athletic abilities. Tennis, track and field, swimming, and gymnastics are examples of excellent individual sports that promote fitness while excluding the need for team interaction during competition. The team still exists for support and camaraderie, but players get to compete individually.
Is Your Child an Introvert?
Is your child an introvert? That doesn’t mean your child is destined to be an nonathletic bookworm. It may mean your child performs well at individual sports. Introverted children may prefer sports that require quiet concentration and do not require much verbal communication among players. Individual sports tend to fit this description.
In addition, your child may simply want to exercise alone. This is a great way to stay in shape and should not be seen as less important than team sports participation. Honoring your child’s true nature and not forcing them to participate in something that doesn’t fit with their personality is an important part of keeping your child healthy.
How to Find Which Sport Your Child Should Play
Let your child watch different sporting events on TV and see which pique his interest. I know a lot of little soccer players who have never watched a soccer match. It shows.
The best way to find out which sport is right for your child is to let her choose something that seems fun and then try it on for size. If she hates it, move on.
If your child finds that there is no sport he enjoys playing, use the money you would have spent on years of sports and buy a trampoline. Take walks with your child. Model fitness for your children and invite them to join you. It simply isn’t necessary to play a competitive sport–individual or team–in order to stay fit.
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