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Women's Health: Postpartum Community
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173939 tn?1333217850

Getting Preschoolers into Sports

At what age did you first introduce your preschooler or JK to sports and which activity was it? Did they enjoy classes or were those tearful events? I am asking because of the pressures around me to have my son participate in a hundred activities while clearly all he wants is play. What worked for your child?
11 Responses
171768 tn?1324230099
i don't have any kids yet, but have worked with preschoolers for years. where i work, we offered many extarcurricular activities, so i have a pretty good idea of what preschoolers like. in addition, parents would often tell me of their experiences in enrolling their kids in programs outside of school. it basically boiled down to this- the kids who said they didn't want to do something were defiant and would not participate. those who were excited about the idea, generally did well. it sounds to me like you know your son well, and it sounds like he may not be ready. the only benefits he may be missing out on are 1) physical activity (although you can make sure he gets enough at home) and 2) interactions with other children. what you may want to do is find out what sports his friends play and ask if they would allow you to come with him and observe. he may develop an interest if he sees other kids doing it. also, take a look at his interests. if he loves the pool, look into swimming at the local Y. if he's a rough-and-tumble kind of kid, he may enjoy gymnastics. if you decide to sign him up for something, definitely stick to one activity (some of these poor kids are doing way too much). He has the rest of his life to be a tight, stressful schedule.  
Avatar universal
My kids are 8,6,5 and 4. They all go to the y for activities since we are homeschooled. Our 4yr old is the one that does not want to do anything yet.  Our daughter who is 5 was that way to.  I gave up on forcing them to do something.   When they are ready they will participate.  I would give him the chance to play sports, but if he is not ready don't force him.

good luck
158812 tn?1189755826
I signed my daughter up for pre-K soccer and dance with the YMCA at the age of 4. She started them both the same week.  Dance was first, and it was an OBVIOUS hit.  She asked if she could go every day.  

Soccer was another story.  She wasn't really in to it, and the team was co-ed.  She was getting swallowed by 5 year old boys.  I continued to take her, and just allowed her to participate as little or as much as she wanted to.  Sometimes she would walk off, and come sit by me.  I didn't push her back on the field. But when the coach would ask her to come back, she would.  

Preschool sports are typically short lived, and quite inexpensive.  I attempt to expose them to different things, and they will choose what they enjoy best.  Now she is begging to sign up for gymnastics...maybe next year!
173939 tn?1333217850
This is very interesting advice, thank you. It is quite true, if they are defiant, you can not really force their little feet to skate across the hockey arena...He used to like all sports I did, at least in theory, but when it came to classes and large group situations and competition, he threw a fit and gave up for good. I suspect that smaller settings and one-on-one attention is going to do the trick. I think I heard him mentioning Taek-won-do. If he mentions it again, that may be it... I am sure as a preschool teacher you have encountered all kinds of temperaments. They say my son is "quite a character". Maybe characters need odd sports. Thanks again!
173939 tn?1333217850
Thanks missie and pixijal, the Y is an excellent idea. That way they can explore more than one option. It is a relief to hear that you are not forcing them. My son`s dad was furious with me that I did not force him on the ice again and predicted I would turn him into a defiant hopeless and clueless teenager one day. I was a bit shattered whether I am doing the right thing in child rearing here but after all there is a buddhist saying:
"When the student is ready, the teacher appears". Thanks again.
13167 tn?1327194124
Trial,  I had all three of my boys in soccer at the age of 4.  What a misery that was!!   I don't totally regret it,  because we met a lot of people and got out in the fresh air every Saturday,  but I wish I could just relive it and de-stress!  Why would I expect a child who wears size 2 soccer shoes to be a focused athlete!

At this point,  I have two high schoolers and a middle schoolers,  and they are great kids.  My oldest boy is a Rugby player,  because he WANTS to,  and he is great at it.  

I say,  either let your child do what he wants to do and play in the backyard,  OR,  if you have him enrolled in organized team sports,  just enjoy the experience and don't stress.  Wait,   that's impossible.  ;D
173939 tn?1333217850
Thanks, RR. That puts things nicely into perspective... Sometimes I see myself fast forward. I will be in menopause when he is a teenager - and I will probably be in tears remembering his Saturday morning blues instead of his happy playtime chatter. Life is for living, right?
177465 tn?1288238463
My friend just enrolled her 3 year old in gymnastics and martial arts classes at an academy close to us. The program that she enrolled her in is a class where parents are encouraged to be in the room with the children. They each have their own mat and there's room for the child to do their activity and for Mom or Dad to sit to encourage them! Seems to work great for my friend's daughter after a failed attempt at dance class!
Avatar universal
we give ours the chance to do something for a season, and if they dont like it, they stop after that. rec center is a good place to try out a sport - inexpensive and shorter season than Little League or AYSO. try signing up for a multi-sport class where they do a week of soccer, week of Tball, etc... then they can see for themselves what they might want to pursue.
129291 tn?1205776463
My DD was only one year old when we enrolled her into swimming/floating summer class. After that, we started her on gymnastics at 2 years old. The first year she did it only with me, it was class specially designed for "mommy and I" and the next year once she got familiar with the environment, she started doing her 50 minutes class on her own. She has been doing gymnastics since. I also signed her up for soccer when she was little over 3 years old, it did not work so well, she was too shy. So we waited and she started TKD and dance when she was 5 years old. Now she has so many activities that we can not keep up with it! Good luck!
173939 tn?1333217850
Thank you for all the great feedback. I see that there is quite a wide range of sports, ages and experiences you guys had with your little ones but the main thing seems to be to offer opportunities and not get stressed out about results and continuity. I have just signed up my son for Kung Fu lessons while I will be next door kick-boxing. At least he will gain a new experience and I might lose some pounds... Thanks again.
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