Kids today are faced with so many choices. When it comes to activities should they do an academic program (one of my sons does a Lego Robot class, the other takes Spanish)? Should they do community or volunteer programs? Should they do sports? If so which one? Swimming is a life skill. Tennis is a life-long activity. Gymnastics is a foundation for all other sports. Baseball is a great team sport that promotes socialization. So much to consider.
Understand also that if you choose the activity, or the sport for your child then the child doesn’t have any ownership in the decision. It becomes just another thing you tell them to do, like cleaning a room, picking up socks or taking out trash. If they have no input on the choice I will assure you that their participation will be short lived.
Sometimes kids just can’t make a decision. Then it is imperative that we offer some guidance. However, this is one of those things where we need o make kids feel that they are making a decision, even though we are guiding the process. We can look up YouTube videos of the sport being played, we can travel to competitions to watch, or we can read books (on paper? What?) about a sport. I have even had kids make lists of what they like and don’t like about sports and then guide the decision by offering positives and help the decision. In my case, and with my children, my wife and I talked about our experiences in gymnastics. We talked about how fun it was for us, and all the things we learned by being gymnasts. (Oh, and I should add that we own the gym so it was convenient and cost effective as well as a natural progression of their built-in playground.)
Lastly, whatever the choice, let them play it out, so to speak. Maybe they find that they don’t really like it, like we experienced with soccer and basketball. But we made the kids finish the season because that was the commitment they made. They needed to know that decisions need to be followed by action. But now my kids have chosen sports and activities that they love and we encourage them in every way we can. Read back a few posts and review the post about When Parents Make Kids Love Sports. We need to let them know, win or lose, we love the fact that they are playing.
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