Has watching the Olympics inspired your kids to want to try a new sport? Beach volleyball or table tennis, perhaps? Badminton? Fencing? Judo? Archery? There are so many to choose from! Don’t forget sailing and canoeing, or kayaking! And then there are the summer classics, golf and tennis. Not to mention the all-time Olympic viewing favorite for most kids: glorious gymnastics. (Go Gabby!)
My daughters (ages five and eight) saw a video of the gymnast Jordan Wieber doing a back flip at the age of two, and already they feel that certain opportunities in life have passed them by. (Since they are hopeless even at cartwheels, I have to agree with them. Oh well!) But on the plus side, they have gotten excited about trying new sports: both participated in a few swim meets this summer and earned plenty of ribbons, and the older one is clamoring to try karate. Also, in a new development, they have taken to asking their friends the hilarious (to me) question “What’s your sport?” Amazingly, most kids have an answer right off the bat. (I’m just glad they’re not asking their mother!)
Before I agree to become a full-on karate or swimming mom, however, I do have a few questions. And I’d imagine that these are good questions for any parent to ask before their child takes up a new sport.
1. What is the best age to begin this sport? It really depends on the sport and the child, so it’s important to ask.
2. What is the teaching and coaching style at the sports facility? Speak to other parents to answer this one.
3. What is the exercise value of the sport? Archery may develop incredible skills, but is it great exercise? We’re just not sure.
4. Will the sport teach useful life skills? Some sports can be enjoyed all through life; others are rarely played outside of a school context. Something to contemplate.
5. Will my child have the chance to experience success in this sport? Kids don’t need to become Olympians, but they do need to feel a measure of achievement in order to enjoy and benefit from a sport.
6. What are the injury risks associated with this sport? Sports are wonderful, but long-term health and wellness are what we’re after.
7. What social and emotional lessons will the sport facilitate? Kids learn so much more from sports than athletic skills.
8. What are the costs associated with the sport, including lessons and equipment, etc.? In some ways, this is the first question to ask rather than one of the last.
9. What do the logistics look like, including location, schedule of practices, travel time? This, too, is a crucial question for the whole family.
10. And finally, how excited is my child to try this sport? The most important question of all.
Olympic fever has taken hold of the world! Since the spectacle that was the opening ceremonies on July 27, fans have been glued to their televisions for what seems like round-the-clock coverage of this year's games. Is your f... read more
Looking for some big-scale fun this summer? Turn your backyard into Olympic Stadium, no host city approval required! We've got a pentathlon of sports that are sure to delight the kiddos in your house, as well as the ones from neighboring countries...... read more