Kids get many benefits from playing sports. But before signing your kids up to
play, consider each child's age, personality, and abilities to help make sure that
being involved in sports is a good experience for everyone.
What Are the Benefits of Sports?
Sports are a fun way for kids to be active. They also help kids grow in other ways,
learning new skills
being part of a team
learning to work with coaches
learning the value of practice
When Should Kids Start Playing Sports?
Sports can be fun for all ages. For toddlers and kindergartners, sports should
be less about competition and more about being active and having fun. So even if young
kids score a goal for the other team by mistake or spend the whole game chasing butterflies,
as long as they're enjoying it, that's OK.
Around age 6 or 7, most kids develop the physical skills and attention span that
sports need. They'll still need time to understand the rules of the game. When signing
your young child up for sports, choose a league that emphasizes:
Kids should try lots of different sports to find ones they enjoy, such as:
team sports like soccer, basketball,
field hockey, and lacrosse
individual sports like tennis, karate, fencing, dancing, and swimming
Some sports focus on ball play (baseball,
soccer, tennis) while others focus on movement (gymnastics, ballet, dance).
Some kids may not be interested in organized sports. They may be too young or have
other interests. They can stay
fit by being physically active in other ways, such as walking, having a catch
in the yard, riding bikes,
or playing tag.
Whatever your kids' interests, help them get 60 minutes of physical activity every
Sports and Your Family
Sports can take up a lot of time, especially when a family has more than one child
in a sport. Before you sign your kids up, think about how practices and games might
affect their day-to-day life — and yours:
How will it affect how much time your child has for things like homework, other
activities, and time with friends and family? You may want to get the schedule of
practices and games to see what a typical week would look like.
Kids need downtime to rest, think creatively, and play freely. Will your child
still have enough free time?
How will the sport affect the rest of the family's plans? Many teams only practice
and play games on weekends, which can be a problem if weekends in your family are
Will you have to drive your child to practices and games?
How involved do you want to be in the sport, and how involved does your child
want you to be? Sports leagues usually look for parents to volunteer with everything
from coaching to team snacks and carpooling.
Sports are a great way for kids to stay active and learn important skills. Being
involved, as a coach, spectator, or volunteer, is a fun way to spend time with your
kids and show that you're interested in what they do.