We all know that sport can be a really fun way for your child to get physically active, not to mention a great way to develop their skill set.
At the age of 6 or 7, children are at the stage where they are just starting to develop the physical and mental traits needed to play organised sport. Needless to say, there are a variety of benefits to getting your child involved in sports, such as;
- Form of regular physical activity
- Developing motor skills
- Having fun
- Builds confidence
- Develops social skills
- Teaches teamwork and sportsmanship
- Learning discipline of practice
Of course this sounds great, but the fundamental question is ‘how can I help my child choose a sport?’ Getting your child started with a sport can sometimes be a bit difficult, because you don’t know what they would, or wouldn’t like to take part in. For that reason, we have come up with some top tips to think about when helping your child to choose a sport
Between the age of 6 to 9, children have generally developed motor skills, but don’t necessarily fully understand the concept of teamwork yet, and might not be as good as following instructions as older children would. For that reason, it may be worth looking into sports that are easily adaptable between all ages and base it purely on fun at this stage, and avoid trying to implement strategy, competition and pressure, to ensure that they have a good experience which enhances engagement.
Is your child already drawn to a particular sport? Curiosity and enthusiasm are great motivators, especially at the beginning when trying something new, because like adults, if a child isn’t particularly interested in something they are doing, the chances of them being engaged enough to reap the benefits of being involved in sport is remote.
We all know that different body types generally are better suited to certain sports. However, don’t let this put yourself or your child off trying something they might enjoy because it doesn’t necessarily fit to their physique, it’s not about what they would be good at, it’s about the enjoyment of what they are doing to ensure positive experiences, which ultimately will promote a lifelong participation and enjoyment of physical activity in whatever sport they choose.
Before committing to anything, make sure you think about your child's schedule, and the family schedule. Some sports have intense schedules, and include games or training on the weekend. So you need to assess whether that will disrupt your child’s schedule with things such as homework, as well as any plans you may have as a family.
Who’s in charge?
Do both yourself and your child like the coach responsible for organizing and teaching the sport? This is a fundamental part in choosing a sport, because the coach will be there at all times. If your child gets on with the coach, it could mean the difference between having a really good experience when learning something new, verses absolutely disliking everything about the sport by the time they leave the session. At this age, it's imperative to have the enjoyment factor to help improve the chances of participation on a regular basis.
Don’t be surprised if your child wants to switch sports a few times. Sometimes it takes a few tries to figure out what kind of things your child enjoys, even if a sport isn’t right, it will be a good experience learning experience to narrow down to find out what they can excel at.