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Should Your Preschooler Play Sports?

What Kind of Activity?

There's nothing cuter than a bunch of preschoolers playing T-ball or soccer, but is it the best way for them to be active? Probably not.

Team sports offer a chance for preschoolers to meet each other and get some exercise, but can be too complicated. Even simple rules may be hard for a 4- or 5-year-old to understand. If you've ever watched your child run the wrong way during a game, you already know this.

The average preschooler has not mastered sports basics such as throwing, catching, and taking turns. This can be frustrating and may discourage future participation in sports. If you do decide to enroll your child in soccer or another team sport, choose a peewee league that emphasizes the fundamentals.

The coach's attitude and the way other parents approach the game are also important. Above all, a team activity should be fun, not upsetting. If your child isn't having fun, ask why and try to address the issue or find another activity.

If you haven't signed your child up for a team sport yet, don't worry. Myths persist about how kids need a "head start" if they want to be competitive when they're older. But kids who learn the fundamentals and like being active can readily catch on to sports when they're a little older.

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