Most parents agree that encouraging their child to try a new sport or activity can be beneficial! Not only can it provide an additional opportunity to get exercise but mastering new skills, forming new friendships, and learning teamwork all have its advantages.
Nowadays, there are many sports to choose from; some offer team involvement and others, kids can perform solo. Some sports can be played outdoors, and others are enjoyed year-round and indoors. But with so many options, it can be difficult to know where to start. That is why I came up with this list of questions to consider before signing your child up for something new, before registration opens.
Before registering for a new sport
When deciding on a new sport, start with your child’s focus. Oftentimes, there is something they are already gravitating toward more than others. Keep their age, maturity level, and physical abilities in mind when making your selection.
Start by encouraging your child and help pique their interest by taking them to a sporting event - even if it is just to watch a local high school team play or a local semi-pro team. The environment can be very exciting, and it can be helpful to see what possibilities are out there if they stick with it. Sharing your own sporting interests with your child may be helpful and provide an excellent opportunity for more bonding time.
What to ask before sports registration
Find out ahead of time what the schedule demands of a particular sport will be. The registration process can even take a while between sign-ups, try-outs, evaluations, etc. Ask ahead of time.
Don’t forget to ask about practices. Some coaches require in-person practices a few times per week, or else your child might not receive playing time in the game/competition. Be honest with yourself and your child - are they ready for the added discipline and responsibility that comes along with a particular sport? Additionally, some coaches ask the kids to commit to practicing at home for an additional 10 to 20 minutes per day.
By knowing what is involved and expected, this will allow you to figure out if you can realistically fit this activity into your family’s daily routine.
How safe is the sport?
This question is important! Does the coach take safety seriously? Don’t be embarrassed to ask or assess the following questions. Talk to other parents of kids that are on the team or that previously played on the team. Watch a practice. Do your research before sports registration.
Here are some questions you may want to ask depending on the sport:
Consider the coaching style
Attend practices or talk to the coach to determine their attitude toward the game and the kids. How much does each child play and how is playing time determined? If a coach consistently yells at the children or lets only the most skilled players into the game, your child might become discouraged. Beware of a win-at-all-costs attitude but at the same time, you want someone that will encourage and push your kid in a positive and helpful way.
Every child responds to different personality types. But by doing a little investigating ahead of time, you will hopefully be able to pair your child with someone that will enhance their love for the sport, not crush their spirit.
Be honest before sports registration
Lastly, it is important that you have an honest conversation with your child. Nowhere does it say that your child has to play sports. Maybe they enjoy drama, choir, playing an instrument, or are really into creating artwork. Some children find their passion at a young age, and others need to try a variety of interests before discovering what they love.
Whatever it is, ask yourself and your child these important questions:
Is my child really enjoying or benefiting from this activity?
Is it worth the time that we are missing from being at home as a family?
Is my child handling the demands of their schedule both mentally and physically?
If the answers to these questions are yes, then keep going! If the answer to these questions are no, then there is nothing wrong with taking a little break and waiting a few weeks (or even years) before jumping into something else. (In fact, you can do a lot at home for free!)
There is no right or wrong answer on what age your child should be involved with activities. It all depends on your family, the child, and their personal interests.
Karissa is the co-owner of the parenting website, adorethem.com. Adore Them strives to share positive, practical advice and resources to help you find joy in your own parenting journey.
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