Do you remember as a child what the first sport you ever played was?
Maybe your dad was the star of his high school football team and just could not wait to get you out on the field, training to be his prodigy.
Or, maybe your mom just could not get over how adorable she always pictured you would look in a little leotard at your first dance recital.
Now, you have your own child and you are trying to get them involved in something…
But, you don’t want to be the overbearing parent who forces them to participate in the sport of your choice, but you also don’t want to pay five different entry fees only for them to quit each team after the first week because they can’t decide what they like.
Sports are a great way to get your child involved in physical activity, to help them develop skills, and to help introduce them to new people. Health benefits of sport participation for children include: reduced risk of obesity, better cardiovascular health, good mental health and better sleep, improved coordination and balance.
So, when it comes time to consider signing your little athlete up for little league, how do you decide if a little league is the right choice?
Well, whether it is little league or cheerleading, be sure to consider these aspects of the sport:
• Does it include your child’s physical traits?
Is your child flexible? Are they tall? Are they extra strong? Most children have a distinct physical trait about them that sticks out more than the rest.
Typically, this physical trait is one that can be maximized on with a specific sport. For example, if your child is tall, you might see if they would like to pursue basketball.
Of course, this is not always the case, coming from a tall person who was only decent at basketball. But, it does give you a good place to start.
• Does it match their temperament?
Some children are extremely competitive, while others are not. Some prefer to focus on individual goals, while others prefer to focus on team goals.
One thing that can really make or break a sport for your child is if they enjoy the atmosphere. For example, a non-competitive child thrown into a competitive sport can make the child act extremely timid and shy.
• How much is your child willing to put in?
Another aspect of a sport that contributes to how much your child enjoys it is the aspect of time.
How much dedication and time will this sport require?
There are sports that meet once a week and others that meet numerous times each week – it is all about finding a balance between what your child wants and what different sports offer.
As parents, it is not our job to force our child to pursue any sport. But, rather, we should guide them into a place they will enjoy and excel in.
Start by asking them questions to find out what they think they might enjoy, what some of their friends might be involved in, and how much time and effort they are willing to dedicate to their chosen sport.