At What Age Should My Child Start Playing Sports?
At Little Boomers, we have programs for a wide range of kids — from 3 to 12 years old. However, what level of sports is safe for children that young? To answer this question, we’ve worked with accredited sports scientists from the University of Technology Sydney to develop programs that tackle the development of children’s fundamental movement skills (FMS).
FMS refers to physical tasks with varying degrees of difficulty. They include things like being able to properly handle a ball (throwing, bouncing, dribbling, etc.), balancing on one foot, and more. Most sports use a variety of these skills in their play, and if practised safely, can be excellent ways of developing children’s early motor capabilities.
What Kind of Programs Are Offered to Young Children?
When raising children, it can be difficult to know when the right time is to get them involved in local sports. Some experts believe that kids shouldn’t start playing sports until they’ve reached the age of 7 or 8, and most parents abide by these sensible standards. After all, most children younger than 6 are incapable of understanding the rules of basketball, let alone playing it.
In most situations, kids are relegated to the playground until their bones have been given more time to develop. However, that doesn’t mean parents have to entirely rule their children out of playing sports until that age.
It’s true that children shouldn’t be playing competitively until they’ve gotten out of their toddler years, and that’s something we believe at Little Boomers. However, you might be a bit confused — why do we offer basketball programs for children as young as 3 years old?
Well, it’s pretty simple. While children will be practising basketball skills such as dribbling, shooting, and passing, they won’t be playing games or doing anything outside of what their bodies can handle. The amount of running and physical activity involved in full — or even half-length games — isn’t something a toddler’s body can safely participate in regularly.
Why Should Kids Play Sports To Begin With?
There are plenty of obvious benefits for kids participating in sports at an early age. Kids get to socialise with one another — with clear tasks to perform — where they’re having fun. This is a great way to not only build friendships but also to learn the ins and outs of communication in a healthy environment. Learning to pass to one another helps develop trust and encourage kids to learn the value of teamwork. Plus, kids learn that games are a lot more fun when played with friends!
Another healthy benefit of learning sports early is that kids develop an awareness of self-improvement. They learn that putting time and dedication into developing a skill results in very obvious rewards. Even a toddler can tell when they’re getting good at something like dribbling. They’ll start to learn to control the ball and build confidence while also learning patience — since a lot of skills in basketball are very difficult to master! Still, no matter how long it takes for a child to get good at something, once they see how it feels to get their first basket or dribble while running, they’ll crack a smile a mile wide.
So What’s the Right Age?
That is all dependent on the individual abilities of your child. Children develop at different time frames, so the level of movement that your child is capable of might be different from other kids. It’s always recommended that you consult with your physician to determine whether your child is ready for sports. However, by age 5, most children have developed their FMS to the point of being able to handle activities such as climbing jungle gyms, hopping on one leg, throwing and catching balls, and many other complicated physical tasks.
Physical capability isn’t the only thing to take into consideration. Some children aren’t ready to socialise with other kids when they’re aged 3, 4, or 5. It is recommended that kids start engaging in parallel play around these ages, however, since socialising during these years has a key role in the development of healthy social behaviours.
In most cases, the earlier you start socialising with your child, the better. If you’re unsure whether or not your child is ready to start engaging with other kids, talk to them about it or bring them in for a trial run. If worse comes to worst, there’s always next year. However, Little Boomers also proudly offers daycare services for kids aged 2.5-5.
Like most things in life, there’s no real rule of thumb as to when to start your child in sporting programs. However, as long as you give your child seasons to rest and don’t work them too hard, then the consensus is that mild sports participation provides more benefits than anything else for toddlers and children. If your child is ready, then they’re ready.
At Little Boomers Basketball, all of our programs are designed for beginners allowing for an easy transition into a team sports environment where they can feel comfortable.
Visit our website to view the range of classes we can offer you!