Are My Kids Old Enough for Certain Activities?
As a parent today it is often felt that an early start for children in sports and music is necessary so that the child can be as competitive as possible. A parent wants his or her tot to have every advantage in the ever increasingly competitive landscape of athletics and music. What activities are there for kids ages 2-10? How young is too young for certain sports and instruments? Below is a large, but non-exhaustive, list of activities for kids. Below each activity is a brief discussion of what age a child should be to start the sport or musical instrument.
Unstructured Free Play
Structured Free Play
Little Gym, Gymboree, etc...
These are all structured classes, but still have a lot of free movement within the structure. They start as parent-child classes providing for bonding with the parent and learning experiences that allows the parent to help the infant to learn how to socialize with other toddlers. These types of classes begin as early as 4 months.
A child can begin to learn how to swim through parent participated swim lessons as early as 12 months. It is never to early to start to get the toddler used to water, however, by incorporating swimming ideas in the bathtub; blowing bubbles, kicking while supported on hands, running water over head and face, these bath activities will help the infant start the tadpole stage. As far as how old a child needs to be to attend a swim class without a parent, the child must be potty trained and age 2.5-3 is a good rule of thumb so the comprehension is there to listen to and obey the instructor.
Shake, rattle and roll
Fore! Might be a little to young...
How old do you need to be to start playing golf? At 3 a set of kids clubs is great for the child to whack balls around the back yard. Any type of competitive play or lessons should wait until 5-7. Golf is a game that requires a lot of focus and moving parts that require the necessary control. It is best to wait for a bit of concentration to develop before expecting greatness from the toddler.
Never to early to take to a ballgame!
At the age of 3-4 there are T-Ball leagues that a child can enter. These are more for learning social skills, learning the rules of the game and having fun! How old do you have to be to play baseball in a competitive fashion? That is better left until 6-7. At this age the players will have enough strength to get the ball from base to base, as well as have a basic understanding of the game.
Ice Skating or Roller Skating
Skiing and Snowboarding
aka "Bunch Ball"
Along with dance, gymnastics helps the toddler build balance and co-ordination. While using gymnastics gyms for unstructured free play at any age is a wonderful idea, a foray into a more structured competitive gymnastics should be held off until 5-6 years old. It is a very demanding sport on the muscles and the mind. The child needs to be able to handle the stress and intense nature of the sport or they will surely give it up.
Not in the sense of body building, but at the age of 7 or 8 children can start to weight train. Weight training is beneficial for many of the sports that they will be encountering at this age. Weight training at this age will help them to learn the proper technique and help to prevent injuries.
Can your child stand still?
8 is the recommended age to start martial arts training. The reason for this is that martial arts are all about discipline and obedience. Not many children are capable of this much before the age of 8.
How Young is to Young to Play Sports and Music?
These are some basic guidelines regarding activities for kids. The article above presented in a loose guideline the ages that a child should be to start sports and music. All kids are different and mature in differing manners and at different times. The bottom line is if your child shows interest in a sport, music or hobby it is best to try to do something sooner than later. Most importantly, do not push children into any activities to early. The over-riding aspect of sports for children is that the sports and musical instruments are supposed to be fun!