Big Sports for Little Kids


Sports for Kids - tips for parents of little kids just getting started in sports like soccer, t-ball, swim team and more
Putting your kids in organized sports is a lot more involved than just paying your fees and showing up. When we signed our now-8-year-old up for T-ball at age 4, I had no idea how much my life was about to change. 
With all three kids in sports now, we have definitively left the playgroup years and entered the team sports years. It’s actually a lot of fun most of the time.

Here are 5 tips to help get off to a smooth start!
1. Choose the right sport for your child’s age and personality
We made the mistake of putting our son in T-ball when he was four. For another kid, this could have been a good match. Not for our extra-active little guy. He didn’t have the patience for a game with stop and start play. 
5 Tips for Parents Getting Kids Started in Organized Sports
We switched to soccer the following spring, and he loved it. His younger sisters, on the other hand, were overwhelmed when they started soccer. More easily intimidated, it took a few seasons before they felt comfortable on the field.
2. Find out what to expect.

Every sport and every league has its own way of doing things. If you live in a larger city, you may even have several leagues available in each sport. Ask around. 
5 Tips for Parents Getting Kids Started in Organized Sports
You’ll want to find out about the following:
  • Schedule
  • Coaching
  • Expectations for parent volunteering
  • Cost of registration, equipment, and all other fees
  • Location of practices and games (not always the same)
  • Length and frequency of games/meets/matches/etc.
  • Culture – competitive vs supportive
3. Think about your philosophy and goals.

Before the season starts, take a moment to think about your goals for your child. Discuss your kid sports philosophy with your co-parent. 
We started organized sports fairly young, and our main goal has always been for the kids to have enough fun that they’d want to continue to play. 
5 Tips for Parents Getting Kids Started in Organized Sports
This philosophy dictated how we handled everything from complaints about not wanting to play (“You had so much fun at practice last week. How about I warm up with you?”) to how we cheered during games.
You may have a different top objective. Perhaps you want your child to learn teamwork, be physically active, or meet friends.  Be realistic – expecting your four year old to be a star player right away may backfire!
4. Organize the gear.

Find out what gear and equipment you should have, and make a plan for keeping it organized.
We have arrived at swim meets without goggles, soccer practice without cleats, and completely lost shin guards for a week. 
5 Tips for Parents Getting Kids Started in Organized Sports
It helps me to have a dedicated bag for each sport, but perhaps given my history I’m not the best one to give advice on this item!
I’d probably do better if I used checklists and got everything ready well ahead of time. It has also helped to train the kids. With a reminder, they now take their gear out of the car and put it in the laundry room or back in the sports bag when we get home. 
5. Make Friends

You’re going to be spending a lot of time hanging around the ballpark, soccer field, pool, or court. Chances are, you’ll see some of the same parents season after season.

5 Tips for Parents Getting Kids Started in Organized Sports
Don’t be shy! Get to know everyone else on the sidelines, and learn their names and kids’ names.
If you’re a stay-at-home parent, it’s a great opportunity for adult conversation. If you work outside the home, it’s a chance to connect more with what’s going on in your kids’ world. 
Bonus Tip: Prepare Your Child
Before the season starts, prepare your child by practicing a little at home if possible. Show your child video clips of the sport and read stories about it. 
If you have any tips of your own to share, I ‘d love to hear them in the comments below, or on the Books and Giggles Facebook page.
5 Tips for Parents Getting Kids Started in Organized Sports


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10 thoughts on “Big Sports for Little Kids

  • Melanie Redd

    Hey Heather,

    I came over on #TuesdayTalk, and I'm glad to find your site. I also pinned your first photo to this link: https://www.pinterest.com/melredd/blog-link-parties-and-blog-link-ups/

    What a great article about sports for kids! I wish I had been able to read this when my kids were younger (they are both in college now). I think your suggestions are incredibly practical and helpful.

    We put my son in almost every sport until he discovered soccer. Everything else was just too slow. Baseball was especially a bust!

    I think your article can help many parents. And, I think you should send it to doctor's offices and preschools for other parents to read~

    Hope you have a blessed day~
    Melanie

    • Heather Post author

      Yes, I wish I'd had this article when we first started the kids in sports too! I pretty much wrote the article to my former self. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Heather Post author

      Yes, I wish I'd had this article when we first started the kids in sports too! I pretty much wrote the article to my former self. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Growing Up KaterTot

    These are such great tips, Heather! I never thought about the fact that t-ball could be "boring" with the waiting involved. I am considering putting my daughter in some type of sport when she turns 4, and I'll probably avoid T-ball because I know she will also want to keep going and going like the Energizer bunny!

  • Mummascribbles

    These are great tips! Zach is coming up to three and I can't wait for him to start playing sport! I'm sure I will when I'm standing on the sidelines in the pouring rain but the thought of it is great! I don't know what he'll be interested in/good at yet but he's finally kicking a football haha!! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday