Children are natural athletes, spending much of their first five years running, jumping and exploring their new world. Despite this, as a parent, there can be a distinct hesitation in getting your child involved in sports. You don’t want to push them too hard,too early, especially considering research shows that young children who engage in intense physical activity can suffer from overuse injuries.
So, when is it okay to introduce your child to sports? And furthermore, how much physical activity constitutes ‘too much’ and puts them at risk of becoming injured? This is what we’ll answer in this post, but first, let’s look at exactly why you want to introduce your child to sport at all.
Why Introduce Your Child to Sport?
Sports have the capacity to promote more than just individual physical growth. By their very nature,sports require teamwork, empathy, social skills and logical decision making in addition to physical prowess. As London-based child sports agency Playball suggest, sports can be used to promote learning inside the classroom. The main way of achieving this is through breaking the key skills of a sport down into sections and teaching them separately, before compiling the skills into a single activity. This helps create the neural pathways children use to learn individual skills and then apply them to new situations.
In short, playing sports at an early age can teach your child how to learn more easily. This is an invaluable skill throughout life.
How Old Should My Child Be Before Letting Them Play Organised Sport
The best way to make the most of sport for kids is to join a dedicated educational sports course or a local club, both of which welcome children of all different age groups. Before giving you a solid age range, it’s important to consider that children are continually exercising. When they crawl, when they laugh, when they dance and when they run around, they’re continually developing their muscles and exercising.
With this in mind, it’s okay to introduce your child to sports at a very young age, from 1-3 years old, depending on your child’s personal development. This might seem very early, but the key factor is this – the activity must be age appropriate. Ensure that whatever sports and physical challenges your child is involved in are tailored to their age group.
Most clubs or organisations that offer sport for kids have an age focused system, ensuring that whatever activities they do are suitable for the children – use this as a guide and ask questions when unsure.
What If I’m Unsure?
If you’re just a little unsure and want to investigate more before deciding to go further, then there is never any harm in attending a sports club for a single session and finding out more. This is also a great way of discovering how much your child enjoys taking part, which matters hugely in the effectiveness of the exercise.
Saying this, you know your child better than anyone. Whilst it’s advisable to try at least one sports training session and see how it goes, if you think your little one isn’t ready for physical exercise then trust your instincts. Depending on age, there are other ways for your child to exercise, from simple jumping games around the house to family dancing sessions – when you think about it, almost anything can be turned into a great physical activity.
To summarise, you can look at introducing your child to sport from a very young age. The most important point to consider is that you make sure the activities they’re engaging in are age-appropriate. If they are,then your child should have great fun getting stronger and learning.
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