One of my readers asked if we plan to involve our children in sports. The short answer is yes, but I’ll go ahead and share a longer explanation.
Mr. Handsome and I both played sports as kids. I did a couple seasons of soccer, of which I don’t remember much–other than that my team names were the Purple Dragons and the Bumblebees. Soccer wasn’t for me, so I began what ended up being many years of group tennis lessons, eventually leading to tournaments and team experience. I also took five years of karate, most of that being two nights a week. My dad took my brother and I downhill skiing many times per winter from the time I was little until I started college. And I had a couple years in high school of intensive badminton competition.
Mr. Handsome played soccer, baseball, and basketball at various points in childhood, as well as two years of high school football and four years of high school basketball. He also took tennis lessons, which worked out great because the two of us are well matched. Both his parents and my parents did a great job at easing us into sports and helping us be well-rounded.
Little Buddy, who will be five in a few months, is currently in the middle of his first season of sports. We chose soccer, and he loves it. We have thoroughly enjoyed watching him interact with his teammates and seeing how proud he is when he scores goals.
That being said, Mr. Handsome and I have decided that we want to be purposeful in what extracurricular activities we sign our young children up for. We want to make sure we don’t fill their schedules too full and prevent them from having time to “just be kids.” Little Buddy already gets a lot of regular social interaction with friends his age, so we aren’t worried about that.
From social media and talking to other moms, I’ve learned that a lot of parents feel pressured into involving their kids as young as age four in multiple sports per season, which means two nights a week of practices and a full day of games on Saturdays. For most young children, I think that kind of schedule has the potential of being stressful and overwhelming and could eventually result in burnout.
I continuously remind myself that Little Buddy will only be “little” for so long and that there will be plenty of years for him to be involved in sports. That being said, we also see the value in giving him some exposure to team sports at this age, as long as he is having fun and we aren’t filling his schedule too full. Aside from organized soccer, we have both enjoyed introducing him to other sports and outdoor activities. As I write this post, he is outside with one of his grandmas throwing a frisbee.
What are your thoughts on early childhood sports? There are now wrong answers because every kid is different.