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Moms Q&A: Should or Shouldn't Your Children Play Sports?

Our Kent Patch Moms Council talks about youth sports this week

The weather's warming up, and spring means spring sports for many young children in Kent.

There's no shortage of options for your child to choose from when it comes to team and individual sports. The and offer everything from youth soccer to baseball, softball and lacrosse.

Playing a team sport can build character, teach responsibility and improve social interaction — in addition to maintaining healthy exercise routines.

But sports aren't for everyone.

Do you think it's essential for your child to experience sports? Is it inappropriate to make your child participate in athletics?

Join the Kent Patch Moms Council with your thoughts on youth sports.

Debra-Lynn Hook April 13, 2011 at 06:18 PM
I believe physical fitness, staying active, getting outside are essential to good health and a well-balanced person. As for organized sports, it probably depends on the age and it definitely depends on what's going on with the child as to whether I would make a child do anything. But in most cases, I would never force a child to participate in sports. Run, jump, play, go outside when the weather is nice -- yes. But organized sports aren't for everybody. If excellence over fun becomes the name of the game, then kids can burn out. Too much, too soon, is a bad thing: The National Alliance for Youth Sports says 70 percent of kids who play sports quit by the time they are 13 because "it's not fun anymore." (Read more: http://www.modbee.com/2011/04/12/1641195/bringing-up-mommy-soccer-burnout.html#ixzz1JQc9J6No). That being said, the three of my children, who are 22, 18 and 13, opted to play. among them, organized tennis, baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, lacrosse and swimming. I am happy they did. It taught them the value of teamwork and gave them skills for life.
Valerie Fiala April 13, 2011 at 07:39 PM
Playing sports is a childhood past time. I am one of those moms who MAKE their children play sports. I know that sounds terrible and why do would I do such a thing if they don't want to participate? I make them play a sport because I believe sports teaches kids to work together as a team, it teaches them respect, and responsibility. I don't torture them endlessly with season after season of sports, but I do sign them up and make them at least TRY one season of something. Yes, my kids have been mad at me and whined the whole time I am taking them to practice, but in a lot of the cases, they end up enjoying the time with their friends and the sport itself. My boys are not competitive people, but I do want them to have the experience of playing a sport. We play sports through CYO, so everyone gets to play no matter what their skill set. The competition is not as great as some of the local rec sports, but the lessons are still there. My boys have participated in baseball, basketball, tennis, soccer, flag football and gymnastics. They gained valuable lessons with each sport. Some of them we never attempted again, but the ones the boys end up playing year after year, basketball, soccer and flag football. They still are not competitive, but they do enjoy the game.
Kymberly Seabolt April 14, 2011 at 12:29 AM
Yes - but they get to choose. I think learning to be physically active and a team player is healthy, creates a schedule, boundaries and gives kids something to work for and around, but only in as much as the CHILD decides what sport he/she plays. NOT so they can fulfill mom or dad's unfulfilled dreams and desires - or follow in their footsteps. I'm also kind of out there because I think little kids - like in the early/pee-wee age should try many sports but by the time they are in middle-school they should have whittled it down to one sport they truly love so that the balance is academics then some sports on the side, rather than 3 or 4 different sports all year round and then academics fit in. I understand that some kids are going to be great and interested in multiple sports but I think being a "jock of all trades" is over rated, and may lead to kids burning out by high school.
Michelle Sahr April 14, 2011 at 12:59 AM
I'm a big big fan of lots of free time for playing when kids are young. I agree with Debra-Lyn that running, playing, going outside is a must for kids. However, as my kids are getting older, I am inclined to seeing them involved in some kind of team sport even though it eats into that free time. I believe it does what all you mom's mentions, build's an ability to work with others towards a common goal, is healthy physically, teaches lessons about setting goals and working to reach them and it is an experience they may find they truly enjoy. I don't think my kid's are particularly athletically inclined, so without that initial push from mom and dad, they wouldn't likely even try a sport. However, they are not objecting to our decree that they must try one sport next year, a sport of their choosing. We hope that they will enjoy the experience. But even if they don't they may learn some valuable lessons. We can always reevaluate the following year.
Barbara A. Barkley April 15, 2011 at 02:40 AM
Our boys have shown an interest in sports, mostly because we've always played them at home together. In terms of organized teams, they've been on soccer, baseball and basketball. Our oldest has asked if he can try flag football in the fall. We're kind of just letting them try everything now when they are little so hopefully they can settle on one or two sports to focus on in the future. To be honest, I am much more interested in them just having fun while being active than I am about them mastering the sport. I don't think I would ever force them to play a sport that they didn't want to play, primarily because I think that would take the fun out of playing and they could opt for more sedentary activities as a result. (I might feel differently if they didn't show interest, though, because some kids just need encouragement and I wouldn't want them to miss out on something they might really enjoy!) However, if they signed up for a team and then lost interest I would see to it that they finished out the season since that is the commitment they made to their team and their coach.

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