Many centers offer sports programs for toddlers, from swimming to taekwando to gymnastics. Sports can certainly help them build their muscles and coordination, but we need to consider that toddlers still have immature bodies and are prone to injuries. That’s why it’s important that the programs are really designed for toddlers, focusing on general play and movement. Here are some things that parents need to know.
Avoid toddler competitions
Competitions and the pressure to perform can cause unnecessary stress on a toddler . Avoid competitions until your child is 7 or 8 years old. The focus should be on fun with no winners or losers before this age.
Plus, at this age, kids are still learning social skills. It is better to learn sharing and cooperation rather than competing.
Try different activities
It’s best to try different activities (like swimming one summer and dance the next) to develop different muscle groups and also lead to a well-rounded personality.
Don’t worry too much
Most parents rush into toddler programs because they’re worried that their child will be behind. But studies have shown that kids who take sports and exercise classes as preschoolers are no more likely to be involved in high school sports than kids who don’t. In fact, playing basketball in the backyard and other outdoor sports offers toddlersthe same benefits as a structured program.
Choose short classes
Pick one with 12 sessions or less so you can see if your child likes it and you can also try different things if it doesn’t work out. Ideally you can take make up classes if your child feels sick or isn’t in the mood – it is not beneficial to force a toddler to do something because he won’t pay attention anyway, and may even throw a tantrum and disrupt the class.
photo from theparentszone.com