When Can a Toddler Start Playing Sports?

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Sports is one of the best ways to make sure that your kids stay in relatively good physical condition. By starting them out with sports or other physical fitness opportunities early, you’re creating a lifelong pattern that will, hopefully, pay off for you in the long run.

When you’re considering whether or not to put your toddler in a sports program, there are some factors that you’re going to need to consider.

Strength and motor skill development

A significant factor in what kind of physical activities you will be able to start your toddler on is their own strength and motor skill development.  By the time your toddler reaches 18 months of age, for example, she should be able to roll objects along the floor, walk both forward and backward, and probably go down the stairs backwards, using her hands and her knees.  By the age of 2 years old, she can probably run, open doors with handles, and push a box, chair, or stool into a spot to climb on to get things she can’t reach.  A year later, by the age of three, she will likely be able to jump, throw a ball, and climb up and down the stairs using both feet.  Any of these things are physical activities that you can start your toddler on.

Duration is a factor

How long your toddler is engaged in a sporting activity is key, as well. Doctors recommend around half an hour of planned, organized physical activity for toddlers every day.  In addition, they recommend an hour of unstructured physical activity as well.  If your toddler is going to engage in a stationary activity, such as watching television, these activities should not last more than one hour without stopping to start a physical activity.

Organized sports activities

In terms of organized sports, experts disagree about how young is too  young to start.  Many experts believe that the structure and pressure of organized sports is too much for a child until the age of six or so.  Others see no problem with starting physical activities that include organized sports a year or two earlier than this.

Be the example

Finally, your toddler will learn by example.  If he sees that mom or dad regularly engage in physical activities, he will want to do them too.  By starting your own physical fitness routine, you will help your toddler recognize the importance of physical activities.

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This entry was posted in Toddlers.


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