The Right Sport for Your Child, William Carroll, MD
Roper St. Francis
Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Enrolling a child in recreational sports is something many parents look forward to when their child is ready. Sports can help your child develop agility, they provide exercise and teach teamwork. They can also teach your child personal responsibility. However, choosing the right sport for your child can be a challenge. 
Here are a few tips on how to make the best decision: 
Get a physical. Before starting any type of physical activity or sport, take your child in for a check-up to ensure they are healthy enough and ready to participate. Children can be injured when they are not quite ready or have an unknown ailment. 
Expose your child to a variety of sports. Talk with them about what they like and dislike about each sport, then try a few of the ones that made the cut. Signs of enthusiasm will help you both decide which one is best. 
Start small. If your child isn’t usually active or is overweight, make the transition to sports gradual. Try a skateboard, bicycle or skates. Video games are fun, but sedentary lifestyles in children can be harmful to their health. 
Consider less popular sports. A traditional sport like football may be the right fit but when it’s not try something else such as, martial arts, gymnastics, cross country running, golf, dance or fencing. All of these sports teach important skills. Deciding between team versus individual sports is also something to think about.
Practice one-on-one. Starting a new sport without knowledge or skills can be daunting. Spend time with your child and teach them the fundamentals – if you don’t know the sport, learn about it together. It’s great for bonding and keeps you involved in their activity. My dad spent hours with me playing catch in the backyard. 
Most importantly, don’t put your own interests on your child. Participating in a sport is more important than which sport they select. The activity should be enjoyable and healthy – pushing your child into one sport or another can create resentment and possibly cause him or her to miss out on all of the benefits that being active can provide. 
It may take some time to find the right fit, but patience is indeed a virtue. Have fun with the process and play safe!
Sponsored by:
Roper St. Francis Healthcare