For many families, the new school year signals a return not just to the classroom, but also to busy schedules for managing school, childcare, after-school activities, homework, and family time. In an effort to build some active time into their children’s schedules, families may turn to organized kids’ sports programs. However, it’s important to consider a child’s sport readiness; a combination of the physical, mental, and social skills to meet the demands of the sport, before signing them up. Check out the suggestions below to help determine if your child is ready for team sports.
Ages 2-5 years: Children at this age have a short attention span and learn best when they can explore, experiment, and copy others, according to the AAP. Programs like those offered atThe Little Gym focus on basic skills such as running, tumbling, throwing, and catching. Skills that can be improved through active play. The focus should be on fun and improvement, not competition.
Ages 6-9 years: Most children in this age range are ready for simple organized youth sports, but the focus should remain on learning new skills, not competing and winning. Look for programs at child-focused centers that adapt sports like soccer, baseball, tennis, gymnastics, and martial arts to keep the focus on learning new skills rather than winning.
Ages 10-12 years: While most children now have the motor skills and cognitive ability to play more complex kids sports involving strategy and teamwork, the focus should remain on skill development, fun, and participation, not competition. Children tend to stick with activities they enjoy, and that means having play time on the team. Most children would rather have more play time on a losing team than less play time on a winning team.
Programs at The Little Gym combine physical development with activities that promote things like sharing, listening, concentration, and decision making. These critical life skills are presented in a fun and lively environment that provides a different context for learning, complementing and enhancing the traditional school experience even before kids are school-aged. To find a The Little Gym location near you visit us here.