Here in Kansas City, we are officially 2-3 weeks away from the start of school.  So, while the stores have stocked their aisles with every school supply imaginable, they’ve also made sure the shelves are full of water bottles and sporting gear for the fall sport season.  And with the Olympics about to begin in Rio, kids are going to be begging their parents for gymnastics/swimming/water polo/field hockey lessons, and all the gear that goes with it.  The excitement has already started at our house.

Around here, soccer is the recreational sport of choice from August to October.  Kids can start playing on an organized team at age 4.  We just signed up our 5-year-old daughter for her first soccer experience this fall.  I’m pretty certain she may be more excited to run around with her new kindergarten friends than actually try to kick the ball into the goal.

My husband and I both played organized sports when we were younger, and know there are many benefits to having our children play.  Here are some pros to having your kids participate in group sports.

  • Increases a child’s social interaction and cooperation with peers
  • Helps a child learn how to work with and take direction from adults other than their relatives or teachers
  • Develops critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Promotes teamwork and helps children work together toward a common goal
  • Motivates kids to improve their skills while working alongside more talented teammates – encourages goal-setting
  • Builds leadership skills
  • Encourages a life-long desire to be physically active
  • Teaches children how to win and lose gracefully

Before you do enroll your child in a team sport, think about what would best fit your child’s personality.  While parents tend to choose sports they enjoyed as a child, their child may not feel the same way.  For young kids, just starting in team sports, it may be best to try a different one each season.  They may try a few before they settle on a sport they enjoy.

And who knows what Olympic sport your child will be begging you to learn?  Synchronized swimming, anyone?