Most kids can’t resist the temptation to walk on top of a low wall. It’s just challenging trying to keep your balance. We think about that whenever someone mentions sports.
We all love sports—watching them. Some of us are super-athletic; others are just not athletic at all. We give everyone a chance to play, though, because you just don’t know until you try. If we hadn’t done that, we’d have never known one of our boys was a really gifted athlete.
Here’s what we’ve done to keep sports in balance:
Wait until the right time. We waited until around 9 to 11 years old to start with most of our children, and we wish we’d done it with the rest. With younger children, it’s often parent-driven and kids tend to burn out early–often before they really develop the skills to enjoy the sport. Instead, we encourage lots of informal active play. Read more about waiting here.
Look for healthy environments. A child who’s not mature enough to stand on his own in a hostile crowd probably isn’t ready for your typical locker room. That’s why we love Christian, church, and homeschool teams.
Keep family first. We tried out community league sports, but the boys were divided up into three leagues, playing on different fields at the same time. We not only didn’t have meals together, we weren’t anywhere together. It was too stressful for us, that’s for sure. That’s why we love the Homeschool Football League. All levels of play practice at the same time on adjacent fields. Games are usually held on Saturdays one after another. Families pitch tents and have an all day picnic with friends. So much fun! Learn more here.
Keep it doable. We just can’t handle multiple sports and seasons in a year. Maybe your family can, or maybe you need to make some hard decisions. Thankfully, by the time one of ours becomes that gung-ho, he is usually driving or has big brothers that drive. That keeps the whole family from paying the price.
Do it. Encourage some kind of sports or activity. It’s one of the few areas homeschoolers tend to lag behind in–physical fitness. We’ve really enjoyed most of the team sports we’ve played, but there are other things that might be easier for your family. Try tennis, cycling, racquetball, running, weight-lifting, and more until you find something that works. Two of our guys got motivated when their uncle bought them fitbits®. The competition in activity levels did it. Find something.
The Payoff? Well, with all the testosterone we have in our house, football season is a relief! They come home all tired from tackling other people’s kids! <grin>
Speaking of testosterone, the preteen years can be hard. Sometimes they climb on an emotional rollercoaster and invite you to join them there. Or, school starts taking forever. Here’s hope – and help. Join us for Boot Camp 9-12: Getting Geared up for the Teen Years, our popular LIVE webinar series for parents of nine- to twelve-year-old boys. See you there!
Hal & Melanie