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Getting Kids Started in Sports

Adapted From In Motion: Active Living for All Ages.

Sports is a fun way to introduce your child into a healthy lifestyle. Benefits of Sports are countless, and include promotion of growth and development, socialization and teamwork, development of self-esteem and goal setting, as well as providing a healthy alternative for less desirable engagements.

You can encourage your child to get involved by:

Staying fit yourself — Be a good role model. Your kids are watching you more than you think. If you have a healthy lifestyle, they are more inclined to emulate these positive exercise experiences.

Play sports with your child — Simple running, kicking a ball, or playing outdoor games, biking and swimming are fun experiences from which the child builds.

Free play — Under the age of five, free play is best and comes first. As the child grows, team sports participation can be introduced, usually around the age of 5 or 6. Before then, the attention span may not lend itself to team efforts, and stressing the child to be involved beyond his attention span can create an unwanted experience.

Expose your child to various sports — Taking the child to organized athletic events introduces the child to various team sports. You don’t have to take the child to a professional event. Merely taking the child to a little league soccer or baseball game may show them that other kids are doing physical activities and having fun.

Safety and proper couching —  It is important to be sure the child is in a safe environment with proper coaching and equipment needed for the sport. Parents should be supportive and let the child enjoy themselves. Positive reinforcement promotes self-esteem and confidence. Don’t put excessive pressure on the child. Keep it fun and safe.

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