Adults, when they think of fitness and exercise, invariably imagine a well-equipped gym with cheesy music blasting over the speakers and sweaty people running on a stationary treadmill. To kids on the other hand, exercise and fitness are all about just doing what comes naturally – running about, climbing, falling, just being active. As kids grow older, team sports can be really great as a safe way to try out life skills. Team sports can help a child learn to work with other kids, share stuff, boost self-esteem, and generally fall in love with life. This is one problem here – what do you do if your child is not a natural athlete, or just doesn’t like sports?
To begin with, to not be interested in organized sports can be quite normal – it could conceivably be put down to a matter of personal taste. But you could try to understand your child’s reasons first to make sure that all is well. Perhaps there are deeper concerns that your child has, that come out of social anxiety. Preschool kids often have team sports made available to them; even so, it is not until the age of seven or so that children actually have the attention span or the mental development to actually grasp everything that goes on ina game. Kicking a ball while running or catching a ball, takes a good deal of limb-eye coordination; a child who hasn’t had the time to practice these skills properly might just not see the point. What you can do then is, you can practice at home with the child, the kind of skills that you believe she will need, playing a team sport at school. In the reassuring surroundings of home with no one else around to catch their failures, they might open up.
Your children’s fitness and health may be a great reason why you wish to have them take a team sport. But there are real reasons why they may not yet be ready for prime time. To begin with, the school sporting league can be all about the competition and the winning, and this can be offputting to your child. Most children aren’t really appreciative of the pressure of competition until they hit the age of 12 or so You could try some places like the YMCA where they don’t keep score, to help a child to find her groove without the pressure.
Kids grow up at different rates. While one child may take up to the age of ten to gain excellent hand-eye coordination, another kid might do it at the age of six. Kids can also take time to come to terms with how hard it can be to keep up with everyone else. If your child really does need time to grow into her shoes, you can find children’s fitness activities outside of team sports. Swimming, horseback riding, golf, skate boarding, yoga, there are any number of choices for what a child can do to stay fit. Raising a child is all about finding a balance between what you decide is right for your child what the child wants for herself. With a little thought, finding the balance should not be all that hard.