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When Should Kids Start Playing Sports?

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Making new friends and engaging in healthy physical activity are just two benefits of youth sports. But, when it comes to children and sports, many parents have questions like: “What are the best sports for 5 year olds,” and, “Are there even age appropriate sports for 6 year olds?”

Encouraging Physical Activity in Preschoolers gives parents recommendations on exactly when kids should play sports and insightful advice on their many benefits. Check out these tips on youth sports before deciding what activity best fits your little one!

Youth Sports
The topic of youth sports often comes up when talking with preschool parents about physical activity and skill development. Clearly youth sports can be an appropriate place for children to get needed physical activity. During organize youth sports, children will learn and further develop motor skills. They also will get practice they may not get at school or home. But when should children begin, and what should parents look for in a good youth-sport program?

Although some youth-sport programs are designed for preschool children, most experts agree that youth sports are more appropriate for children older than six. Most children are between the ages of six and eight years old before they have developed and refined their skills to the point they can be successful competing on teams.

If parents do decide to put their preschool children in youth sports, the emphasis should be on learning basic physical skill and on having fun.
Select a program that has some of the following characteristics:

  • Focuses on skill development and having fun, not winning and losing.
  • Uses informal teams, meaning that the child might be with a different group of children each week when playing.
  • Does not keep score or standings from week to week. The preschool child does not care who wins; he just wants to play and be around other children.
  • Limits the emphasis on wearing uniforms.
  • Allows boys and girls to participate on the same team together and allows equal play for all participants.

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