Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Choosing a Sport for your Child

Sports are important for children; they encourage physical fitness, build self esteem and develop problem solving and team-building skills.  However, every year children drop out of these activities, are injured or simply develop a dislike for sports.  Follow these simple tips and insure that your child truly enjoys their sporting experience!

Competition Level
How competitive is the sport?  How competitive is your child?  Watch your child while they interact with friends, play family board games or video games.  Competitive children thrive in sports like hockey, gymnastics and football.  If your child is passive, consider swimming, martial arts or bowling.  Take a look at the league in general, especially the other parents and coach.  Some team sports, like softball, can be very non competitive, allowing a child to enjoy the team experience without the pressure of winning.

Price
Some sports, like hockey can get extremely expensive.  Make sure you consider not just the actual enrolment fee, but the price of gear as well.  The last thing you want to do is have to pull your child out because you underestimated the price. 

Time
 The same goes with the time commitment.  Don't choose something that's a hassle to get to, has a lot of practice or meets frequently unless your sure you can commit.  If you're just starting your child in organized sports, choose something that is once a week, for a limited amount of time instead of a sport that meets multiple times a week and requires tons of extra practise.  

Team or individual
Ideally, your child would participate in both team and individual sports.  Of course, time, money and your child's personality can stand in the way.  Team sports a great for children who enjoy working with other kids and being part of a team.  It builds confidence and instills the feeling of being part of a group.  Team sports can get more competitive as children get older, so it's often best to start passive children in team sports and move them to individual sports.  Individual sports are a great way to develop new skills without feeling pressure or embarrassment.  Individual sports can result in great personal growth and teach goal setting skills.  

Practise skills at home
Practice with with your children.  Get involved in your kids sports and lead by example.  Playing catch with your child lets them practise the skills they'll need during game time.  There are lots of fun sports and activities that you can do with your child to let them explore new sports; try snowshoeing, cross country skiing, swimming or hiking.   

Sports by age:

Ages 6 to 8:
Tennis
Soccer
Softball
Gymnastics
Swimming
Simple cycling
Martial arts
Dance

Ages 8 or 9:
Football
Skiing
Basketball
Hockey
Bowling
Golf  

Ages 10 and up: 
Mountain biking
Rock climbing
Surfing
Horseback riding
Fencing  

It's just as important to work out your mind as your body!  We have lots of sports inspired Sticky Mosaics, which are fun, educational craft kits, perfect for all your mind workouts.  Catch a wave with our Sparkle Surfer kit!

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