Is my grade-schooler ready to play a team sport?

Is my grade-schooler ready to play a team sport?

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Absolutely. Cheer your grade-schooler on if she enjoys playing a game of soccer, baseball, or basketball with other kids her age. The emphasis should be on having fun and getting exercise, though, not on competition. Encourage your child to participate in different team sports each year — rather than urging her to get really good at one. Participating in just one sport may lead to burnout. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing team sports at around age 6, since few kids understand the concept of teamwork before this age.

That said, remember that children grow, mature, and learn skills at different rates, so let her level of enthusiasm for sports be your guide here too. Team sports are a great way for 6- to 8-year-olds to keep fit, have fun, and improve their gross motor skills. These activities can also boost a child's self-esteem, confidence, social skills, and body image. Look for players of similar age, height, weight, ability, and maturity. At this age, gender isn't an issue, since girls and boys still tend to be the same size. Make sure, of course, that your child is equipped with the right protective padding and head gear, depending on the sports she takes up. And you'll want to ensure that she receives the right kind of guidance and instruction from coaches. They should reward her for trying hard, gaining new skills, and teamwork — and not punish, ridicule, or criticize her for mistakes or for losing.

As long as your child has fun and doesn't feel pressured to participate, that's fine — whether she's strategizing the defense or simply running around and getting a little exercise. Pushing your child to star in sports, on the other hand, may turn her away from an activity that should be a lifelong source of enjoyment. So if she joins a team and then tells you she wants to quit, talk with her about why she wants out. It may just be that the team, coach, or sport isn't a good fit. If so, figure out together what might be a good alternative and try something else. Or she may simply need encouragement to stick it out if she's frustrated over learning a new skill or her ability level.

A few things to keep in mind: Your 6- to 8-year-old can handle only so much instruction. She can probably follow about four commands at once, such as "Catch the ball, dribble down the court, pivot, and then shoot." And a game of a half-hour or so, or two 20- to 30-minute halves with a break in between, is plenty. The emphasis, of course, should not be on winning or losing but on having a great time — and if you can incorporate other important values, such as sharing, taking turns, and supporting teammates, all the better.

Watch the video: Sports Song - Educational Children Song - Learning English Sports for Kids (August 2022).

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