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Introducing your child to sport

Getting your child involved in sport at an early age is a good way to help him/her maintain a fit body as well as a fit mind. Some children may indicate very early what sports they are interested in while others may show no interest at all. In the case of the former, it may be a simple matter of signing the child up for the one he seems most interested in, or shows an inclination for. For the latter, you may have to take the child to various sporting events and give him/her time to develop an interest in them.

Do not be offended or disappointed if your child chooses a sport that you have no interest in. Most of all, do not pressure the child to switch to your preferred sport. If your child seems to like basketball and you are a golfer, it would not hurt to learn a little about the game so you can participate in it with your child. In the beginning you may have to be involved as much as possible, especially if your child is a bit on the shy side.

Once your child has decided on a sport, you should ensure that he/she has the stamina, physique and temperament for that sport. This is important to not only avoid frustration, but also for safety reasons. The child who does not have good eye-hand coordination or trips and falls easily can get hurt playing football and may get turned off the game for life. Sport brings out a lot of your child's personality. One may enjoy the teamwork and competition of soccer and basketball, while another may prefer a solitary activity like swimming or skiing. Whatever sport your child chooses should be something that he/she enjoys and helps to build discipline and character.

In the early years, your child may not be interested in winning, content to just be part of the team. A coach who understands this and is willing to just let your child have fun should be preferred over a strict disciplinarian who encourages competition. Over time your child may come to see sport as something as important as academics, but until then let them enjoy the activity without the pressure.


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