The Right Sport For Every Age
Participating in sporting events is one of the best ways to get your kids off the couch and up on their feet. By getting into sports, your child will not only enjoy the benefits of a physically active life, he will also learn the importance of discipline, perseverance, and hard work. But before you sign him up for every sports class that you could lay your hands on, keep in mind that there is such a thing as sport readiness. While your child may show a preference for a particular sport, he may still not have the necessary motor development skills to play it. If he lacks these skills, he might end up getting frustrated or he might end up thinking that he’s just not good enough.
Here’s a quick guide as to which type of sport is appropriate to your child’s stage of development, according to the United States’ National Center for Biotechnology Information, an organization which provides biomedical information, and Mayo Clinic, a medical group comprised of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and researchers.
Early Childhood: Two to five years
How your child’s body is developing: As your child sheds off his baby fat, his limbs grow out. His legs become straighter and his strides longer. As he starts experimenting with his senses and exploring the world around him, he expends an awesome amount of energy. Though your child is beginning to take charge of his muscle and movement, he still has a lot to learn.
What sport your child should be engaging in: Getting him into competitive sports is not advisable at this stage. Unstructured play is best with an emphasis on exploration and experimentation. Get him running, throwing, tumbling, catching, and swimming.
Middle Childhood: Six to nine years
How your child’s body is developing: Though physical growth is not as rapid at this stage, your child has a better grip of fundamental motor skills. Not only are his posture and balance better, his attention span and transitional skills have improved as well.
What sport your child should be engaging in: It is advisable that instructions be kept short and at a minimum. Competition should be minimal, too. Get him riding a bike or take skating, tennis, martial arts, or gymnastics lessons. He could also try soccer and baseball.
Late Childhood: 10 to 12 years How your child’s body is developing: At this stage, girls are usually taller and heavier than boys. Your child continues to master his transitional skills, improve his attention span, and learn strategic play. His balance and coordination, however, may be temporarily affected by growth spurts.
What sport your child should be engaging in: Your child is ready for more complex sports like football, basketball, and volleyball.
Early Adolescence: 13 to 15 years
How your child’s body is developing: Adolescence brings on an amazing amount of growth with the bodies of both sexes changing by leaps and bounds. Girls though tend to accumulate more fat mass with boys gaining more muscle strength.
What sport your child should be engaging in: At this stage, your child’s flexibility, coordination, and balance maybe temporarily affected. Your child may continue to engage in sports he has taken a liking to in previous years. Taller, stronger boys may want to try basketball and track and field; girls with narrower shoulders and hips may try gymnastics.