At a Glance
- The main considerations in choosing the best sport for your child are his personal preference, age, personality, physical attributes, and energy level.
- To help you decide what sport will suit your child best, it is very important to weight the pros and cons of some of the most popular kids’ sports out there.
- The best things you can do for your child when it concerns joining a sport is to expose him to many options, avoid forcing onto him your own preferences, and play an encouraging and supportive role to help him stay motivated.
Simply put, whatever kids sport your child is most interested in is the best choice for them [Source: Psychology Today]. However, considering things like personality, physical attributes and age among others make the decision-making more complicated. Additionally, there is the question of whether or not they will actually love the sport.
So how do you choose which kids sports suits your child the most? Here are a few tips to help you make the right decision.
A General Guide to Kids Sports
In order to narrow it down, you must first recognize what common skills generally come out at a particular age. By knowing this, you’ll be able to surmise the kind of sport your child will most likely be successful at. This way, they can develop a deeper love and appreciation for the sport.
|2 to 3||kicking. running, striking|
|3 to 4||balance (skating or skiing), jumping, swimming, cycling, throwing and catching|
|6 and up||sports that require agility, balance and coordination|
Another factor to consider is your child’s energy level and the way they socialize. Some sports are more high-intensity than others and may suit an outgoing child rather than a shy one. It’s important to take these things into account so your child will get the most out of the sport.
|Highly Active||dance, track, martial arts. hockey|
|Low Activity||archery, bowling, fencing, golf|
|Extroverted||baseball, soccer, football, hockey, basketball|
|Introverted||tennis, yoga, gymnastics, swimming|
Pros and Cons of different Kids Sports
Now that you have a little more knowledge on your belt, let’s take a look at some of the most popular sports and their pros and cons.
- Focuses on foot dexterity
- Good choice for a clumsy child
- Increases endurance
- Also excellent for cardiovascular health
- Common injuries include:
- ankle twists, sprains and shin splints
- Additional risks of concussions and head injuries
- Teaches the importance of teamwork and of “being one” with the squad
- Helps with agility and flexibility
- Due to intense physical involvement, it requires a lot of body toning and conditioning
- Various health benefits
- As an intense sport, injuries are very common such as:
- muscle pulls
- tendon and ligament strains
- knee and ankle injuries
- Teaches the value of teamwork and time management
- Lowers body fat and improves muscle tone
- Massive health benefits
- Because the sport is arguably brutal, bruises and deep concussions are common occurrences
- Although rare, leg and spinal injuries might also happen
- A stress-free sports to organize
- Improves balance and coordination
- Develops concentration and self-discipline
- Tame compared to other sports
- Injuries such as pulled hamstrings may still occur
- Younger kids are susceptible to knee injuries
- Just like the toughness of the sport, lacrosse makes its players very tough to crack
- Helps boost your child’s confidence
- Improves mental acuity, socialization and increases physical fitness
- Lacrosse is a “collision sports” meaning bruises from bumping into other players are common
- Twisted ankles and shoulder injuries are also possible
- Excellent way to gain leg endurance
- Also good for cardiovascular health
- Improves both physical and mental agility
- Helps build character
- Common injuries include:
- wipeouts, concussions, and lost teeth
- Has a fighting culture and involves trash talk
- Helps with focus and concentration
- Improves arm and leg strength
- Promotes faster metabolism
- Common injuries include:
- shoulder and elbow injuries
- typical bruising
Knowing all the information above can help you big time, but there are also some other ways to ensure that you’re doing the right thing. Here are some useful tips to help you make a solid decision.
- Exposure – Expose your child to options. Don’t just stick to one type of sport. “Trial and error” is pretty normal at this point. Do what you can to expose them to every possibility you can think but make sure they stick to one sport long enough to really determine if it suits them.
- Don’t insist on your own preferences – As a parent, we think we always know best, but in this case, try not to force your own preferences to your child. They should be able to pick something that they actually enjoy doing rather than reluctantly doing it to please you.
- Encourage them – Encouragement and positivity are a huge part of everything you do when it comes to parenting. Sports are not only very physically demanding but also mentally as well. Make sure to play an encouraging and supportive role for your child so that they can stay motivated [Source: Kids Health].
Not all children grow up inclined to kids sports. They might pick up other child hobbies that are better suited for them. Nonetheless, it is very important to expose them at an early age. Otherwise, they might spend too much time doing less productive activities (e.g., excessive screen time) which will encourage them to live sedentary lifestyles. Sports, however, can be a fun way for your child to develop physical attributes and character. Additionally, enrolling your kids in sports gives you more time to enjoy for yourself. Wanting that is not a bad thing. All in all, although there are risks involved, sports are ultimately really good for kids, and choosing the right one will surely help your child become a better individual.