When is your child ready for sports?

We are all aware that exercise and maintaining good physical fitness are good for our health. The rate of overweight and obesity, especially among children, has increased dramatically over the last 40 years, as reported by health organizations around the world.

When we talk about exercise for children, many people wonder at what age are they ready to start playing sports. Is there an ideal age at which children can start engaging in sports or does it make no difference when our kids first start engaging in physical activity?

In this article, we will provide you with some useful information and recommendations regarding the choice of sports activities for your child.

What are the health benefits of sports activities?

As mentioned above, the rate of overweight and obesity among children around the world is constantly increasing, so it is necessary to find options that would help reduce this problem. In fact, obesity is also causing more and more problems for primary school children. It is not surprising, therefore, that “elderly” illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes, are also more common in children between the ages of 12 and 14, which is a clear indication that something is wrong.

Physical exercise not only helps to defend children from illness, but also stimulates and encourages the development of their motor and physical abilities, such as balance, strength, speed, coordination and, last but not least, has a positive effect on a child’s social skills and self-confidence.

At what age do children’s abilities usually develop?

If we look at a child’s motor development, all the way from birth to puberty, we see how he goes through stages in which he acquires a series of skills that allow him to control his body and learn movement. That’s how we end up with five stages of child development, which will later enable them to acquire new skills and carry out daily activities.

  • 0–2 years:

    at this stage the child displays simple play and involuntary movement. Kids love to play and everything is new to them. They do not yet have good control over distance and space, their movement is impulsive. At this stage, psychomotor courses could be interesting for a child’s early development.

  • 2–4 years:

    at this stage, children are already acquiring certain motor skills, such as jumping, running and riding a tricycle. This is still the stage where learning through play is the most effective.

  • 4–7 years:

    at this age, children begin to perfect skills such as coordination, balance and speed. From this age on, we need to pay particular attention to the weight our children carry in backpacks to avoid possible spine problems.

  • 8–9 years:

    at this stage, children can engage in sports that encourage the development of their skills, such as running.

  • 10–12 years:

    this is a time when children can improve control of their own body and improve certain skills, such as flexibility, strength and endurance.

What sports can children play and when is the right time to start?

Hiking

Hiking is a type of physical activity that is easiest to introduce into a child’s everyday life. It is important to start with short distances and look for appropriate motivation to make the child appreciate walking. We can start with walks in the park, trips in nature, tours of the old town, visits to smaller places. Once the child gets used to longer hikes, we can also try bigger hills. The recommended age to start hiking is somewhere between six and eight years of age.

Swimming

A child can start swimming between the ages of three and four. Swimming helps a child develop basic motor skills such as coordination, muscle development and endurance. They start by learning to swim with various aids that help them gain control of their body. This improves their swimming abilities and eventually learn to swim completely independently.

Martial arts: judo, karate

Martial arts such as judo, karate or tae-kwondo are sports that will allow children to develop flexibility, strength, coordination and agility. The ideal age to start practicing martial arts is somewhere between the ages of eight and ten.

Athletics

One of the most common ways children release their energy is definitely running. We can see a huge number of children running, chasing or playing on the school playground. Athletics is a sport that can help them channel excess energy into developing skills such as speed and endurance.

Tennis

Tennis is a sport in which a child gains coordination and flexibility. With tennis he also learns to control the force with which he hits the ball and improves control of space and distance.

Rollerblading

Rollerblading, similar to dancing, allows a child to express himself by using his body. It develops coordination and balance. When the child is 5-6 years old, rollerblading can be introduced as an activity that can be practiced once or twice a week.
Each of the listed sports will have a positive impact on your child’s development. This is why parents are encouraged to introduce their children to the world of sports at a very young age, because it will help them enjoy training different types of sports activities during puberty and adulthood.

What sports and at what age did you start? Was he ready for sports or did you have to wait a little longer? What were the biggest challenges? Share your experience in the comments below.