There are many benefits when it comes to introducing your child to sports. Competitive sports help teach kids the importance of preparedness, goal setting, and remaining calm under pressure.
The life lessons kids can learn from sports like teamwork and commitment are great reasons to sign them up for a sport they’re interested in. But, it’s also important to be prepared as their parent, too. When you’re the mother or father of a little one who has shown an interest in starting a sport that could be dangerous, doing what you can to prevent injuries will make the entire experience more enjoyable and beneficial for everyone.
So, which sports should be pursued with caution? Which ones might be safer for your child as they get older? Do the benefits really outweigh the risks? Let’s find out.
How to Introduce Young Children to Sports
When you’re thinking of the best, safest choices for your young children in the world of sports and physical activity, it’s important to consider their age. Whether your toddler wants to run around with a soccer ball or they love to throw and catch, take note! Nurturing those natural preferences while making sure the right safety precautions are in place will make transitioning into other sports easier for them in the future.
Toddlers and preschoolers are usually too young to be involved in organized sports. But, they are better learning how to move their bodies and what they can do. So, encouraging unstructured physical activity is usually the best option. This includes things like:
- Catching and throwing
As your child gets older (ages 6-7), they will start to have the attention span and physical skills needed to gain the benefits of sports while also being safe while they play.
Choosing the Safest Sport for Your Child
Any type of physical activity comes with some risk. While you can’t necessarily protect your child from everything, knowing both the safest and most dangerous organized sports can help you to make a more informed decision about which sport(s) you should consider for your son or daughter.
The most dangerous sports for kids are:
- Contact football
Football has the highest number of injuries, followed by girls and boys soccer, and girls and boys basketball. Concussions and injuries to the feet, legs, or ankles are the most common problems kids face when playing these sports.
How to Prevent Injuries
If you really want your child to participate in a fast-paced contact sport in the future, that’s okay! Over one million high schoolers across the country play high school football, and it’s unlikely that number will dwindle any time soon. If you want your child to eventually play a more dangerous sport, making injury-preventing preparations now can help.
Conditioning is a big part of preventing injuries. While in-season conditioning programs may not be available for preschoolers or toddlers, keeping your child active is essential to strengthening their muscles and bones, and helping them to learn what their body can and cannot do. It also contributes to their overall health and wellness and creates healthy lifelong habits.
When they do finally sign up for a particular sport, they’ll be stronger and may have more coordination that can help them to dodge potential injury-causing situations. They will also have a better understanding of when they’re tired or fatigued, so they know when to take a break.
Things like the right protective gear can help to reduce the risk of injuries, too. Make sure your child knows the rules of the sport they want to play, and inform them of how important it is to follow those rules for everyone’s safety.
You might think it’s too early to start considering sports if your child is somewhere between 2-5. In fact, it’s never too early to get them active and interested in a healthy lifestyle. You’ll start to see that they might gravitate toward certain activities and sports on their own over time.
Knowing how to prepare yourself for potential injuries and how to keep them safe in the future will make it easier to encourage their passions, and you can actually enjoy watching them play!
Sam Bowman writes about families, wellness, and how the two merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.
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