Participating in sports is a good form of exercise for children. It will not only keep them physically fit but also help them develop good values and improve social skills. Just make sure to choose a sport that matches your child’s interest, age and skills.
As spring approaches, here are some fun sports that your child can try:
Baseball and softball
At the age of 4 or 5 years old, your child can start playing tee ball, a team sport which is a simplified version of baseball and softball. It is a slow-paced game that can help your child improve physical strength, coordination and balance. Your child can join the National Little League Baseball Organization and participate in little leagues.
Energetic children who enjoy team play can join soccer teams. As young as 4 years old, they can play in smaller soccer fields using smaller ball. Soccer is a fast paced sport so your child will definitely not get bored while playing it. The mechanics of the game is also simple making it easier for kids to pick up.
Learning how to ride a bike can start as early as 2 years old. Kids can use of a three-wheel tricycle at the beginning and eventually a two wheeler with training wheels at the age of 5. When your child is ready, he can try riding a bike without the training wheels. But don’t let your child go bicycling in the streets alone, it is better to have them practice in your back yard, driveway or in parks instead. Also, multispeed bikes, mountain bikes and bikes with hand brakes are not recommended for children younger than 9 years old.
Inline skating requires balance, coordination and flexibility, so if your child has well-developed motor skills, he can try this sport as early as 4 or 5. Your child should take lessons with a professional, and use protective gears (helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards) and skates with brakes to ensure safety.
If your child loves water, swimming may be the right sport for him. Swimming is a full-body cardiovascular exercise. Children below 4 years old can enroll in safety/swimming readiness classes. At 4, they can join real swimming lessons. Swimming is a lifesaving skill and at the same time, a great workout for kids.
Jumping rope is an excellent exercise for kids. It is easy to learn and can burn hundreds of calories per hour. To make it more exciting, jumping rope can be choreographed to music and incorporated with tricks. Energetic kids at 5 or 6 years of age can join classes or beginner teams.
Through engaging in sports, children will develop motor skills, and improve cardiovascular fitness, balance and coordination among others. Likewise, they will learn and practice discipline, hard work and teamwork.
Parents should focus on encouraging their child and commending their efforts rather than pushing them to win. Let them enjoy the sports they chose and make sure to support them all the way.