There are great benefits encouraging your child to take up sports at an early age, including:
Health and fitness:
- Better endurance and cardiovascular health
- Maintaining a healthy weight to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and other diseases
- Improving muscle and bone strength
- Improving balance and flexibility
- Expending excess energy (this should be called “a parent benefit”)
- Improving sleep patterns
- More confidence
- Improving discipline
- Gaining a healthy body image
- Learning new skills
- Creating a habit of regular exercise
- Learning teamwork and responsibility
- Better communication skills
- Making new friends
With this long list of immediate and long term benefits available through sports, it’s important you help your child to choose one they’ll be interested in, and enjoy for many years to come.
In this article we’ll share some tips and resources that will help you choose the right sport for your child.
Introduce Your Child To Many Different Types Of Sports
Not all kids will be interested in all sports, so finding one that appeals to your child will take some time and also requires that you pay attention to clues suggesting a special interest in a particular sport.
Setting aside time to watch a variety of sports on TV or going down to live games together on the weekends is a great way to get started. Talk about what your child likes and dislikes about each sport and help explain the rules so they get a better understanding of what’s going on.
Even if you don’t know too much about the sport yourself, it’s important to learn the basics so you’re able to point out some of the best players or stars in the competition and explain the basic rules.
Team Or Individual Sports
Both team and individual sports provide great benefits for children. So, for many kids it can be a good idea to find one of each that they’d like to commit to during childhood.
Although if you only have time to commit to one sport, a team sport is usually a good place to start as they’ll receive lots of important benefits such as…
- Learning teamwork, responsibility and discipline
- Improving communication and other social skills
- Gaining more confidence and making lots of new friends
With team sports they can also join with a family member or friend from school so they’ll be more excited initially about going to training and games.
Match Body Type And Natural Abilities
If your child has some level of natural affinity or ability with a specific sport they will be much more likely to enjoy it and therefore stay committed. So choosing a sport that suits your child’s natural body type and skills is also very important.
If your child is short, stocky and strong then maybe start with rugby. If they have great hand eye co-ordination try tennis, cricket or hockey. Or if your child is tall and athletic then basketball could be their sport of choice.
Of course anyone can play any sport and enjoyment and interest is the main priority, but it always helps when your child feels like they are contributing and have some natural talent in a new sport.
Contact Or Non-Contact
There are a wide variety of both contact and non-contact sports, so depending on your personal preference and your child’s character you can select the one that suits them best. If your child loves to wrestle and is quite boisterous then contact sports, such as rugby and football could be a great way to release some of that extra energy and rough play in a safe supervised environment. Whereas if you child is the quieter, gentler type then tennis, netball and even hockey could be a great choice for starters.
Try Out Many Different Sports
Once you’ve narrowed down the list of potential sports it’s time to get them out there and give them a try.
These days there are many great holiday sports programs that offer short training camps for a variety of sports. This allows your child to try many different sports for a few days each, and then decide which ones they enjoy most. This also helps you save money on equipment and registration fees for sports that your child may quickly get bored with.
Australian Sports Camps are one of Australia’s most experienced and professional sport camp providers for children aged 6-16. Their nationwide camps and sports programs are held every school holidays across most capital cities.
With programs delivered by expert coaches and special celebrity guests they have programs for most popular sports including:
Identify Sports That You Child Is Most Interested In
Once your child has tried a few different sports you’ll want to talk to them about which ones they enjoyed most. As a parent you’ll quite often be able to see very quickly which sports appeal to your child.
What sport are they talking about or asking the most questions about? What star players are they idolising? What rules and strategies have they understood the best?
Following these steps will quickly help you identify the best sports for your child to get started in.