Your 5-year-old is fairly active now. You notice that their physical skills like jumping, kicking, throwing and running are fairly well developed now. Then it is time for them to refine these skills, build on them and also learn more complex ones.
Organized sports might be the right way to go about this. Organized sports include games like soccer, cricket, basketball, tennis- differentiated from other physical activities like skating, swimming, cycling etc.
Before you sign them up, do keep some things in mind:
- Make sure your child can handle it: Your child might be active but do remember that they are 5 years old. Do consider their developmental level. They might not find it easy to follow rules and instructions. It can become a frustrating experience for them that might put them off sports altogether. In such a case you might want to wait a year or two.
- Choose the right sport: Let your child have some informal experience in the chosen sports to see what they enjoy the most. You can start with that. They can, of course, pick up other sports as get the nuances of team sports.
- Indulge in some play and practice at home: Parent and child play can be a great way to bond as well as build some fundamental skills in the game. The great plus is that you will be doing it in a safe, accepting environment. It also develops your child’s confidence to join a team later.
- Take time off: Do not pressurize them to practice beyond their physical abilities. They don’t always have to be engaged in sports. Give the sports a break once in a while and let their bodies rest.
- Choose the programme with care: Make sure that the programme you sign them up for addresses their mental and developmental age in terms of the peer group. They should ideally begin in a fun, “non-competitive” environment with their age group.
- Do not make winning the only goal: Let them have fun. Learn the rules. Participate. Winning can wait.
If however they do enjoy the idea then go ahead and sign them on.
- Physical skills: These activities develop fundamental physical skills like running, jumping, passing, throwing while keeping your child engaged in a fun way. It becomes a natural way for your child to get regular exercise. Staying fit reduces the risk of illness.
- Mental skills: They learn the importance of regular practice, work with coaches and peers, and the challenge of competition. It builds self- esteem. All this applies to other aspects of their life – like studies, scholastic activities like debates, later on in life.
The important thing here is that your child should have fun. Take advantage of their tendency to be active and help them develop into more than just a good sports person.