The question may seem easy to answer but it’s more complex than many think. The readiness of the child is not determined by a certain age or because there is an enrollment for children who are in the age bracket of your child. Your child’s readiness is not dependent on the fact that neighbour’s children are getting engaged in one sporting activity or another. To discover when your child is ready, you need to understand some physical and psychological developments.
Most parents want their children to start engaging in sporting activities so they become superstars faster. Some put so much pressure on their children which can lead to all sorts of problems including depression and burn out of the child. Engaging in sport early is not a guarantee the child will become a professional athlete. There are many instances where professional athletes didn’t get an early start in sports but have gone on to great success. A great example is Tim Duncan from the NBA who didn’t touch a basketball before he was 14 years old.
Readiness to start
Some sporting activities are strenuous, hence the need to determine the physical readiness of the child. The child must have the stamina, endurance, and muscular strength. This may not be an issue for some children, but they all grow at different rates.
There is also the psychological aspect to consider, throwing a child with low self-esteem into an environment where they risk feeling worse if they are not as naturally talented as others, can have a very negative impact on them. It’s important to understand your child properly and then choose their path into sports carefully.
There is nothing wrong with encouraging your child to get involved in sporting activities when they’re young, but remember that
each child has a unique developmental process and if they’re not ready, they shouldn’t be pushed.
Investigate the program you are looking to enroll your child into and ensure they are developmentally ready so they can enjoy the experience.
Most importantly, let the child be involved in the decision process! If they say they don’t want to join a team sport, then be patient and try introducing them to other things first, build their confidence over time and let them grow into it.
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