Playing a team sport comes with many benefits – children learn to trust their instincts and those of their peers, they learn to share and work in a team and most importantly they understand the result of working hard to achieve an end goal. By the age of 6 years, children develop the qualities they need to participate in a team sport. It is a good time to start looking at the kinds of sports available around them – be it at school or a sports centre; to see if they are a good fit with a team.
To check if your child is ready to take on a team sport, look at these three aspects of their physical and mental development – physical maturity, emotional maturity and health. Different sports require your child to have different physical attributes. It is important to consider those before your child attempts to take them on. Coaches are a good source of information on whether or not your child is a good fit for a sport. As a parent, you are best aware of your child's emotional maturity. Team sports take some level of patience, stress control and ability to remain calm – your child may or may not have these attributes by the age of 6. Think it through before pushing them into a high-stress sport if you feel they aren't ready. Lastly, if your child has a history of health issues, for example, asthma, talk to your doctor before they take on any new sports.
Keep a close watch on your child's interests. Choosing a team sport isn't your job, it is primarily theirs. Monitor the sports they gravitate towards and find interesting to watch. When it comes time for Parent-Teacher Conferences, take some time to go speak to their sports teachers and see which sports they're showing an interest in.
When you do have a sport in mind, take your child's and your family's schedule into account. Is this a sport you can manage in terms of time and terms of finances? Be logical about it, rather than stretching yourself too thin in terms of time and money. Lastly, and it must be said, do not be sexist. Sports are not just for boys and do not make the mistake of limiting your daughters and their abilities. Push them equally into taking charge of choosing a team sport based on their interests – be it your daughters or your sons.