Kids sports are a topic that comes up more and more as your child gets older. We find ourselves talking more about different sport, coach, & team options than the old topics of potty training and naps. It is a hard thing to navigate, which is why we wanted to put together a collection focused specifically on this topic!
Safest Kids Sports to Play
by Karissa Tunis
Full disclosure – I am a mom. Not a doctor, or a sports medicine expert, just someone that enjoys doing research. Below is what I have discovered on the safest kids sports to play broken down by age groups. But of course, be sure to check with your child's pediatrician before sending in those registration forms. Have fun and stay safe!
Sports is always a popular topic. Whether you enjoy watching your favorite team on TV, or you are cheering on your child from the sidelines, we are often watching some type of sporting event.
Most parents agree that encouraging your child to try a new sport can be very beneficial. Not only can it provide an additional opportunity to get exercise; but mastering new skills, forming new friendships, and learning teamwork all have their advantages.
Nowadays, there are so many kids sports to choose from. Most people consider football, soccer, and field hockey; but there are so many more options then just the popular favorites! Some offer team involvement, and others you can perform solo. Some can be played outdoors, and others are enjoyed year-round and perhaps even indoors.
But with all of these options, we often ask 'Which sport is safest for my child?' It is not always an easy answer as every child has different skill-sets, strengths, and limitations. But overall, we can point out a few options to make it as fun and safe of an experience as possible.
BEFORE YOU START A NEW Kids SPORT
When deciding on a new sport, start with your child's focus. Oftentimes there is something that they are already gravitating towards more than others. Keep their age, maturity level and physical abilities in mind when making your selection. Also, find out ahead of time what the schedule demands will be so that you can figure out if it realistically fits within your family's routine. Are they ready for the added discipline and responsibility that comes along with it?
Start by encouraging your child and help peek their interest by taking them to a sporting event. Even if it is just to watch the local high school team play, or a local semi-pro team. The environment can be very exciting, and it can be helpful to see what possibilities are out there if they stick with it. Even just sharing your own sporting interests will be very helpful and will provide an excellent opportunity for more bonding time.
SAFEST SPORTS TO PLAY BY AGE GROUP
Below is a list of 'safer' kids sports for each age group. Keep in mind that accidents can happen anytime, so learning proper fundamentals, safety, and technique for each sport is the most important foundation! Make sure that all gear is up-to-date with the newest safety standards and is always well cared for. Also, you do not always need to join a travel or formal league; start by joining a school team, or signing up at your local recreation center. Even better, before making any kind of investment, try it in your backyard and invite the neighborhood kids over for a pick-up game.
SAFEST SPORTS TO PLAY FOR TODDLERS
This age group is still trying to master basic movements. While they are too young for organized sports, there are many wonderful activities geared for their abilities. Focus on helping them develop in these areas in order to better prepare them for later on:
Something fun to try could be a program called soccer shots, happy feet, or there are many similar options. These types of programs encourage games, running around, kicking a soccer ball, and having fun outside with other kids their same age.
Many gymnastic centers offer toddler specific classes that teach them stretching and the proper techniques – like how to tuck your neck in when doing a somersault. Many of these classes you can do along with your child – Mommy & Me or Daddy & Me options are really fun!
THROWING and CATCHING
This one is perfect for the backyard! Just throwing a ball back and forth (make sure it is soft!) will really help with hand-eye-coordination. Once they are ready, maybe consider signing them up for something like tee-ball.
This is very dangerous when not done with correct supervision, but now is a great time to sign them up for swimming lessons – just make sure it is with someone trusted and responsible!
You might be surprised to learn that children can start as young as 3 years of age. Finding a program that teaches the correct hand grip, stance, and swing for little ones can be done in a fun way that will help them later on in life.
SAFEST SPORTS TO PLAY FOR ELEMENTARY AGE
As your children grow their vision, attention spans and skill-sets continue to improve. Keep in mind though that kids do develop at different rates, so you will need to consider where your child is at before signing them up for this kid sport.
This continues to have one of the lowest rates for injuries. You do need to be cautious about bumping your head in the pool, and over exerting your shoulders. But with the proper training and coaching this is a great sport that can be enjoyed year round.
CHEERLEADING and Dance
We are not talking about competition here, because that takes this to another level. But at school level, or for a recreational team, cheering and dance can be lower impact than many other sports.
TRACK and CROSS-COUNTRY
Running is very good for the body. Building endurance, confidence, and working on your breathing techniques has its definite advantages. You do need to be cautious of ankle or foot injuries, but with proper footwear and a knowledgeable coach, this is a great option for many kids.
This low-impact sport can be enjoyed for a lifetime! The wonderful thing about golf is that there really is no age limit. Learning the proper hand grip, stance, and swing can take time to perfect, but it is much easier to learn at a younger age. And once achieved, you can enjoy this sport well into your adult senior years. You do need to be careful not to strain or injure any muscles in your back, shoulders, or elbows; so training with a responsible coach to learn proper form is key.
This is another great sport that can be enjoyed well beyond your school-aged years! Again, shoulder, elbow, and back injuries can occur if your technique and swing is not done correctly. But training with the right coaches will allow you to play this game solo, or in double matches. Tennis is great option for last minute pick-up with friends, or there are many leagues and clubs beyond your typical school teams.
SAFEST SPORTS TO PLAY FOR TEENS
Keep in mind that puberty and growth spurts can temporarily affect a child's coordination and balance. This is why it is so important to make sure your child is training with the right coaches, and working with the right trainers. Make sure they are developing a solid foundation of proper techniques and movements. The lack there of is often what causes the injuries.
This still continues to have one of the lowest rates for injuries. Again, you do need to be cautious about bumping your head in the pool, and over exerting your shoulders. But with the proper training and coaching ,this is a great sport that can be enjoyed year round, and it is an important skill-set to have throughout your life.
This is a great team kids sport that can be enjoyed almost anywhere you can put up a net – the beach, the backyard, indoors, outdoors, etc. While this sport may be lower impact than others, you do need to be careful with serving and diving for the ball. Wearing the proper knee pads, and learning the proper serving, setting and bumping techniques will keep your child injury free and having fun.
TRACK and CROSS-COUNTRY
Again, running is very good for the body. Building endurance, confidence, and working on your breathing techniques has its definite advantages. You do need to be cautious of ankle or foot injuries, but with proper footwear and a knowledgeable coach, this is a great option for many teens, and running is something that can be enjoyed well beyond the school-aged years.
Again, this low impact sport can be enjoyed for a lifetime! Do you know how many business deals happen on a golf course? – A Lot! Recently 93% of executives surveyed said that playing golf with a business associate was a good way to establish a better relationship. Learning the proper handgrip, stance, and swing now, just might continue to benefit you later on in life as well. And once achieved, you can enjoy this sport well into your adult senior years. You do need to be careful not to strain or injure any muscles in your back, shoulders, or elbows, so training with a responsible coach to learn proper form is key.
Again, this is another great sport that can be enjoyed well beyond your school-aged years! Shoulder, elbow, and back injuries can occur if your technique and swing are not done correctly. But training with the right coaches will allow you to play this game solo, or in double matches. Tennis is great option for last minute pick-up with friends, or there are many leagues and clubs beyond your typical school teams that are offered well into your adult senior years.
Should I involve my child in kids sports?
No matter what sport your child decides to try, it can be a wonderful opportunity to get more exercise, learn some new skill-sets, and make new friends. Even if they decide to never go Pro, it can still be an enjoyable activity for many years, or even just for a season. And sometimes, it can take trying a bunch of different options before they find one they want to stick with for more then one round.
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what you need to know before kids sports registration
by Karissa Tunis
Most parents agree that encouraging your child to try a new sport or activity can be very beneficial! Not only can it provide an additional opportunity to get exercise; but mastering new skills, forming new friendships, and learning teamwork all has its advantages. Continue reading below to find out what you need to know before sports registration.
Nowadays, there are also many more sports to choose from. Some offer team involvement, and others you can perform solo. Some can be played outdoors, and others are enjoyed year-round and sometimes even indoors.
But with so many options out there, it can be hard to know where to start. That is why I came up with this list of questions to consider before signing your child up for something new, and before registration opens up. Also, check out Safest Sports to Play which offers a few options for each age group.
BEFORE REGISTERING FOR A NEW SPORT
When deciding on a new sport, start with your child's focus. Oftentimes there is something that they are already gravitating towards more than others. Keep their age, maturity level and physical abilities in mind when making your selection.
Start by encouraging your child and help peek their interest by taking them to a sporting event. Even if it is just to watch the local high school team play, or a local semi-pro team. The environment can be very exciting, and it can be helpful to see what possibilities are out there if they stick with it. Even just sharing your own sporting interests will be very helpful, and will provide an excellent opportunity for more bonding time.
WHAT TO ASK BEFORE SPORTS REGISTRATION
HOW MUCH TIME IS REQUIRED?
Find out ahead of time what the schedule demands will be. The registration process can even take awhile between sign-ups, try-outs, evaluations, and so on. So ask ahead of time.
Don't forget to ask about practices. Some coaches require in-person practices a few times per week, or else your child might not receive playing time in the game/competition. Be honest with yourself and your child – are they ready for the added discipline and responsibility that comes along with it? Some coaches even ask the kids to commit to practicing at home for an additional 10-20 minutes per day.
By knowing what time is involved and expected, this will allow you to figure out if you can realistically fit this activity into your family's daily routine.
HOW SAFE IS THIS kid SPORT?
This one is extremely important! Does your coach take safety seriously? Don't be embarrassed to ask or assess these questions below. Talk to other parents of kids that are on the team, or that previously played. Watch a practice. Do a little research before kids sports registration.
Below are some questions you may want to ask depending on the sport:
- Does the coach require that players follow the rules?
- Does the coach and league require the use of proper safety equipment?
- Do players take time to warm up and cool down before and after each practice or event?
- In hot weather, does the coach pay attention to hydration, humidity, and the temperature?
- Are children taught proper movement and body positioning?
- Is the coach attentive to the prevention and recognition of concussions?
CONSIDER THE COACHING STYLE
Attend practices or talk to the coach to determine his or her attitude toward the game and the kids. How much does each child play and how is playing time determined? If a coach consistently yells at the children, or lets only the most skilled players into the game, your child might become discouraged. Beware of a win-at-all-costs attitude. But at the same time, you want someone that will encourage and push your kids in a positive and helpful way.
Every child responds to different personality types. But by doing a little investigating ahead of time, you will hopefully be able to pair your child with someone that will enhance their love for the sport, and not crush their spirit.
BE HONEST BEFORE SPORTS REGISTRATION
Lastly, it is important that you have an honest conversation with your child. Nowhere does it say that your child has to play sports. Maybe they enjoy drama, choir, playing instruments, or are really into creating artwork. Some children find their passion at a young age, and others need to try a variety of interests before discovering what they love. But whatever it is, ask yourself and your child these important questions:
- Is my child really enjoying or benefiting from this activity?
- Is it worth the time that we are missing from being at home as a family?
- And is my child handling the demands of their schedule both mentally and physically?
If the answer is yes, then keep it going! If the answer is no, then there is nothing wrong with taking a little break and waiting a few weeks (or even years) before jumping into something else. In fact, you can do a lot at home for free! Check out this article that dives deeper into the advantages of Trading Activities for Play Time.
There is no right or wrong answer on what age your child should be involved with activities. It all depends on your family, the child, and their personal interests. Good Luck!
10 Reasons Your Child Should Play Kids Sports
by Shari Medini
I was a gymnast for 15 years, my husband was a wrestler, and we both competed collegiately at Rutgers University. Obviously we are advocates of youth sports. We firmly believe that kids sports (when balanced with other activities) gives children the opportunity to grow into well-rounded, confident, hard-working adults. Below are 10 great reasons why kids should play sports…
THEY MIGHT LOVE IT!
My son started playing in a soccer league when he was four. Over the summer, he did a camp where he played 15 hours of soccer in one week. He had soccer practice once a week and a game every Sunday. To some this might sound a little nuts, but he loved it! The only time he has cried about soccer practice was when it was cancelled because of rain. When I would pick him up at camp after 3 hours of playing soccer, he would still be running around with a grin on his face. I was so glad to be able to give him this amazing outlet for fun and exercise! Since then, he has wanted to try other sports and activities; and we give him the space to explore those interests.
Continue reading this article below, or click play to listen to this article being read to you!
THERE IS A WAY TO BE AGE-APPROPRIATE.
Involving your kid in sports at a young age does not mean that they are going to be taken out of your home and moved across the country to train to be a world-class athlete at the age of five. It is up to you as the parent to keep tabs on what is reasonable for you particular child and their personality.
IT'S OKAY TO PUSH YOUR KIDS A LITTLE BIT.
We shouldn't always shy away from pushing our children when they need a nudge. We certainly encourage our children to read, write, and learn math. And, we don't think twice about making them go to school every single morning. Yet when it comes to sports (that can also be very valuable to their development) we shy away from regular practices.
SIGNING UP FOR COMPETITIVE/SUCCESSFUL TEAMS HAS BENEFITS.
If your child is going to put in the time and effort, why not make sure that they are getting the most out of it that they can? I want my children surrounded by knowledgeable coaches and motivated peers. I want them to learn core skills that will help them down the road.
THERE ARE INCREDIBLE LIFE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED THROUGH YOUTH SPORTS.
My firstborn is a perfectionist, like many other firstborns; and he puts a lot of pressure on himself to do well. However, kids sports have been an amazing learning experience for him and a way to work on those struggles. We are able to talk about the importance of hard work and also losing gracefully. He is able to see first-hand that the more he practices, the better he gets.
DOORS WILL OPEN TO UNIQUE OPPORTUNITIES.
As a gymnast I traveled to California, Colorado, Puerto Rico, and many other places. I would not have had those opportunities otherwise! Throughout my years, I met world-class gymnasts and was able to learn from them. I was able to gain perspective and maturity at a much younger age than most of my peers thanks to the experiences that sports gave me.
WHAT ELSE ARE THEY GOING TO BE DOING WITH THAT TIME?
Be honest… if your child did not go to sports practice, what would they be doing? In our house, they would probably be watching TV, bickering, or jumping off the furniture. I would so much rather my son be out in the fresh air at soccer practice, running around, and learning the value of teamwork! Sports remain incredibly important as they grow into teenagers as well and put their time and effort into something productive.
THEY WILL NOT BE MISSING OUT.
I did not go to prom in high school because I was competing at Nationals for gymnastics. While my peers were dancing awkwardly or trying to figure out how to sneak in alcohol, I was tumbling on a four inch wide beam with the best gymnasts in the country. There is not an ounce of me that ever felt like I missed out. I spent my teenage years in the gym, learning the value of commitment and dedication instead of ogling crushes at the mall.
COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS ARE A REALITY.
Because of my commitment and dedication, I received scholarships to help pay for my college education. I was able to instantly connect with teammates when I headed off to college so that there was less of an adjustment period. The long hours of training can pay off in a very real way!
TEAMMATES BECOME FAMILY.
I happened to meet up with an old teammate at the beach this summer, and it was so incredible to see her again. Everything felt the same as it always was, and it was a beautiful reminder of what felt like a different life. We had spent over 20 hours a week together for years, and that bond doesn't just go away.
WHY KIDS SHOULD PLAY YOUTH SPORTS
I want my children to be the best version of themselves. I want them to be happy, healthy, and successful; and I truly believe that sports teach the life skills necessary to make that happen! This is why kids should play sports.
learning life Lessons through Kids Sports
by Shari Medini & Marcello Medini
Marcello and Shari were both high level athletes who spent much of their childhood training in their respective sports. In this video, they talk about learning life lessons through sports throughout their athletic careers.
3 safest and 3 most dangerous sports for kids
by Scott D. Grossman
I grew up playing sports all my life, and I’ll be the first one to tell you that physical extracurricular activities are extremely beneficial for kids of all ages. However, as a personal injury lawyer, I’m also all too familiar with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other serious injuries that can happen to kids playing sports (especially the most dangerous sports for kids). Because of this, I understand why some parents do not wish to let their children engage in certain sports as many of them can be rough and even dangerous.
There are numerous sports that your children can play that give them the physical activity they need without much risk of incurring serious injuries. (go here for injury prevention tips) Below are three of the safest sports for kids to play as well as three of the most dangerous sports for children to be involved in.
SAFEST SPORTS FOR KIDS
Tennis is one of the safest sports for both boys and girls to learn. It is demanding both physically and mentally, and will keep children fit with a minimal risk of injury. It teaches children to develop strength, agility, and speed. And it can also be played either individually, or on a doubles teams.
In order to avoid injuries such as tennis elbow, it is important for a player to learn proper stretches and warm up techniques. Ideally when playing tennis, it’s best to use a proper pair of court shoes, or at least cross-trainers. This allows for quick changes in direction, and also supports the ankle.
Golf is a great option for people of all ages – not just retired adults. It may be deemed an individual sport, but it is also a very social activity that can promote teamwork. Apart from allowing your children plenty of time outdoors, the sport also develops concentration, patience, and focus.
The risk of injury from playing golf is very low. Of course, improper methods can lead to tendonitis, or pain in the wrists, hands and shoulders. Children should warm up before playing, and should always stay hydrated.
Swimming is one of the most popular sports in high school for both genders, and provides a wonderful overall physical workout. Whether for recreation or for competitive swimming, pool time is generally supervised, and is one of the safer sports that children can participate in. Parents can also have peace of mind knowing that their children are equipped with swimming skills. This is very helpful for if they ever find themselves (or someone else) in an emergency situation while in a swimming pool, lake or other body of water.
To avoid swimming injuries, children should stretch before getting in the pool. They should use good stroke techniques, and make use of rest periods to recover. More importantly, ensure your child only swims when supervised.
MOST DANGEROUS KIDS SPORTS
Football is the most popular sport in America, as well as the most dangerous one. High school football players are particularly at risk of injuries compared to college players due to their inexperience and smaller stature. Though helmets offer players some form of protection, no helmet truly prevents concussions and other head injuries.
Studies show that 80 percent of concussions that kids obtain from playing sports are from football. Repeated hits to the head can lead to a progressive degeneration of the brain tissue known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which can result in problems such as confusion, memory loss, impulse control, and impaired judgement.
Soccer is showing signs of increasing popularity, with participation in high school soccer increasing five times over in the last 30 years. It is an intensely physical and hence a dangerous sport. In fact, high school soccer players sustain roughly 400,000 injuries each year.
Knee injuries comprise nearly a third of all soccer-related surgeries. Soccer playing boys are at the greatest risk for sustaining ankle sprains, and upper leg and thigh strains. Soccer playing girls, on the other hand, are more at risk for neurological injuries due to their necks not being strong enough to ‘head’ the ball. Not surprisingly, the brain is the body part to be most at risk in this sport. A study published by Columbus, Ohio’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital showed that 8.2 of sports concussions result from soccer.
Basketball is the second most popular sport in the country, and a sport with the greatest participation from both boys and girls ages 6 to 17. It may not be a contact sport, but it can also be a very dangerous sport for kids – whether playing on the local park court or in an organized league. Every year, over 200,000 basketball-related injuries occur in kids below 15 years of age, requiring treatment in hospital emergency rooms.
Players are prone to falls when spending time on the court. The most commonly injured sites are ankles and knees, followed by the lower back, hand, and wrist. Major basketball injuries include ankle sprains, strains, fractures, and ACL tears. Basketball is also a sport with the highest rate of dental injury due to the complete lack of protection for players on the court. Eye injuries also commonly occur due to players being hit by other players’ elbows and fingers.
While it is perfectly acceptable for your children to gravitate towards activities categorized under the most dangerous sports for kids such as football, basketball and soccer, it is important to be aware of the potential physical dangers that such sports can bring. When sports are played correctly, they can help your child live a happy and active lifestyle.
Family Conversation Starters about Kids Sports
by Shari Medini
We hear all the time how important it is to open up the lines of communication. Communication improves relationships with partners, friends, and coworkers; but we can’t forget that it also improves our relationships with our children. Sports is often a popular topic for kids as they try a lot of new activities and explore their different interests. Here are some fun sports questions for kids!
10 ways to provide parental support to your athletes
by Gene Zannetti
What parent isn't proud of their child for trying, or even excelling, at a sport?! To watch them get out of the house, out of their comfort zone, and challenge themselves is a wonderful thing. Hopefully the new skill sets, friendships, and leadership from a respected coach, are helping to enhance your child's overall abilities and confidence! Below are 10 ways that you can provide that parental support for your athlete.
VERBALLY & NON-VERBALLY COMMUNICATE THAT YOU BELIEVE IN THEM.
This theme will gradually start to become a part of their positive self-talk as well and can be a great reminder for them when they are doubting themselves.
VERBALLY & NON-VERBALLY COMMUNICATE THAT YOU ACCEPT THEM, LOVE THEM, & ARE PROUD OF THEM NO MATTER WHAT.
Reinforcing winning, perfection, and success are much lower on your priority list than their fun, happiness, and enjoyment. You might be surprised how much more success this brings.
PRAISE THEIR PERFORMANCE, NOT THEIR OUTCOME.
You want to complement a kid for positive qualities like working hard, going for skills, staying positive, maintaining composure, never quitting, etc. The athlete mastering these qualities will eventually be the one who succeeds. Complimenting them too much for winning teaches them that winning is all that matters, and by default losing disappoints you.
ASK YOUR KID PERMISSION BEFORE GIVING YOUR OPINION/CRITICISM.
Example of parental support – 'Would you mind my opinion?' (This gives the kid a sense of power during a sensitive interaction).
DON'T TALK ABOUT THEIR SPORT TOO MUCH AT HOME.
Let your kid bring it up first most of the time. Let your home be a place of peace, positivity, and mental recovery.
BE POSITIVE AND SUPPORTIVE.
9 out of 10 times, this is what your kid would like, & is often what they truly need.
IF YOU READ THE FORUMS, NEWSPAPERS, RANKINGS,ETC…
DON'T talk about it with your kid.
KNOW YOUR ROLE.
Athletes do their sport. Coaches coach. Judges judge. Parents parent. And there should be very little, if any, overlap between them.
DON'T MAKE COMPETITION DAY SPECIAL.
Your kid can sense this, and it usually leads to them doing the same thing. You want them treating everything the same, so should you.
WHEN IN DOUBT – LAY OFF.
This is tough to do, but it is often the right thing to do, especially when you know your kid is already serious about the sport.
Co-founder of Z Winning Mindset, Gene Zannetti graduated with a Psychology degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He has two masters degrees; one in Sport Psychology and the other in Clinical Psychology. Gene is a certified School Psychologist, Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. His masters degree thesis (Perfectionism & Anxiety) has been published in the International Journal of Wrestling Sciences. Gene was a nationally ranked All-Ivy League wrestler at UPenn.
How to Determine which Sports Options Your Kid Should Pursue
by Samantha Olivier
The question is not whether your child should participate in regular physical activity, rather it's how you can make this new chapter in their lives as enjoyable and rewarding as possible. With the rise of technology in the modern world, aimed at making everyday life as easy and pain-free as possible, adults and children alike are becoming more sedentary with each passing day. But nowadays there are so many sport options and physical activities to choose from!
Therefore, instilling some healthy habits, such as taking up sports, in their developing minds is essential for paving the road towards a healthy and happy adulthood. Here is how you can easily determine which sport is perfect for your little bundle of joy.
Continue reading this article below, or click play to listen to this article being read to you!
Consider these things when exploring your sport options
Mind their physical traits
Subconsciously, parents tend to live out their own unfulfilled dreams through their children, nudging them towards making decisions they might not be particularly fond of. While it might be difficult to detach yourself from what you think is best for your child, it is essential for making a decision that speaks to their heart and soul.
Take a look at their physical traits first. Are they tall enough to play basketball or volleyball? Are they strong enough to take up martial arts? Examine the height, weight, and strength of your child first, and you will be able to narrow down your search easily. Which brings us to the next step.
Listen to their desires
What your kid wants really does matter. Your child should be presented with numerous choices, and choosing their first sport takes time and planning. Take them to see a wide variety of sporting events, from martial arts, to group sports like soccer or baseball. There are so many kids sports to choose from that you should be able to find something they are truly interested in!
Remember that your child is not a blank piece of paper waiting to be filled with your words and desires; they have a natural inclination. You will notice a spark in their eyes when they see the sport option that resonates with their hearts in action. So, if it's ballet, let it be ballet, same as for karate or baseball – it's all the same.
Let them change their mind
Children are wild, untamed creatures that need to run, play, and enrich the tapestry of their minds with numerous experiences they simply won't find the time for when they're all grown up. Don't hinder their adventurous spirits. Rather, let them have as many changes of heart as they want. Don't worry, they will persist in a sport they fall in love with, but rarely is true love found with a single try.
Be a role model
What is equally important is the fact that children are visual creatures, and they are led by positive or negative examples. Your children will, to an extent, be a reflection of the values and habits you instill in their hearts and minds. This is a perfect opportunity for you to inspire them to take up a sport option with your positive influence.
Naturally, you can't just tell them to do something, you need to paint them a vivid picture. This means you need to be an active individual yourself. Along with inspiring them through action, you also need to look the part. You can find various sports clothing at Ryderwear and pick out the pieces that will spark fire in their hearts, and inspire them to want to be just like you when they're older. Remember, Superman did not just have laser vision, he also wore a cape.
Do your research, there are many sport options out there
Finally, nothing bad ever comes out of doing some research. You can easily inquire with the coaches at your local sports center about what they think is the perfect sport for your child. It never hurts to hear the opinion of a professional – who knows, maybe your kid will love the idea.
Physical exercise if of the utmost importance for every developing child, and every adult as well. Follow these simple tips and you will have no problem sparking a lifelong passion for sports in the hearts and minds of your children. Chances are you will follow in their footsteps as well!
Samantha has a B.Sc. in nutrition, and has spent two years working as a personal trainer. Since then, she has embarked on a mission to conquer the blogosphere. When not in the gym or on the track, you can find her at Ripped.me, or in a tea shop.
Great Snack Recipe - Tzatziki Dip
Whether you are watching a sporting event from the sidelines, in the bleachers, or you are at home watching on the TV; snack foods and finger foods are essential! Here is a delicious Tzatziki dip that is very easy to make. This dip is perfect for any veggies and/or chips.
CLICK HERE for the recipe!
4 Injury Prevention Tips for Kids Sports
by Michael Wolf, MD
Sports participation rates in children here in America are at a high right now more than ever before. Whether a child plays multiple sports year-round, or is committed to succeeding at one sport; injury prevention is always an important topic.
Michael Wolf, MD Sports Medicine Physician, Orthopedic Center for Children at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children offers four injury prevention tips below that parents can share with young athletes of all ages.
1. REMEMBER TO STRETCH AND STRENGTH TRAIN
Proper conditioning is the key to avoiding injury. Stretching tight muscles should be performed daily. Core strengthening, and strength training, should be performed 2-3 times per week. Athletes should focus their stretching and strengthening all over, but especially in their deficient areas. A proper warm up of aerobic activity and light stretching should be performed before every practice and game in order to help prevent injury.
Continue reading this article below, or click play to listen to this article being read to you!
2. STAY HYDRATED
Drinking enough fluids is extremely important! This is because an athlete who is dehydrated is more likely to become sick or injured. Have your child start hydrating before even gearing up for practice, and especially before the first day of practice. And on practice days, young athletes should aim to hydrate before practice, during practice, and within two hours of practice ending. Water is appropriate for most athletic activity, but sports drinks with carbohydrates and electrolytes can be considered if there is more than 1 hour of activity. Caffeine and overly sugary drinks should be avoided at all times. Remember, the key is to hydrate and give your body what it needs, not just what tastes enjoyable (especially in kids sports).
3. USE AND MAINTAIN PROPER GEAR
From sneakers to protective equipment, players should be sure to wear properly fitted gear. Gear includes, but is not limited to – helmets, pads, eyewear, mouthpieces and protective cups. If gear is broken or feels too loose or tight, talk to the coach, trainer, or equipment representative. Making sure everything fits correctly will help avoid blisters and rashes. Also, this safety equipment serves a purpose, so make sure it is fitting and working correctly! Especially because proper safety precautions definitely help to decrease the chance of injury!
4. SPEAK UP ABOUT WHAT HURTS
It is very important for children to speak up when they are experiencing pain or exhaustion, as this will help prevent further injury or health risks. Coaches, trainers, and parents should remind athletes that they are available to speak to when feeling pain, exhaustion, or are feeling unwell. Breaks are also an important part of training and preventing injuries. One day off of physical activity per week is recommended to allow the body to properly recover.
Michael Wolf, MD
Michael Wolf, MD is a board-certified sports medicine pediatrician at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. He treats children with acute injuries, fractures, acute and chronic athletic-related pain, concussions, and non-operative pediatric orthopedic conditions.
How to Create a Simple Kids Sports Keepsake Display
by Pamela Rineer
When my son started playing soccer, he was five years old. We decided to try out different options available for a young competitive kid who loved to run and kick. Now that he's played every spring and fall for the last three years, we have started to accumulate medals, trophies and memorabilia. We recently decided to create a keepsake sports display. Check out this simple DIY guide, along with photo examples!
– CLICK HERE for the full DIY Tutorial –
Benefits of Skateboarding for Your Daughters
by Angie Collins
I met my husband when we were both freshmen in college. At almost 18 years of age, though he was past the active skateboarding stage, he was not out of the skateboarding culture or his passion for the sport. For him, skateboarding had many benefits!
When the topic of skating came up with friends, my otherwise quiet and reserved boyfriend would suddenly, and excitedly, shout out terms I had never heard before. He would ramble on about the contests in which he had participated. And as we would drive through his childhood neighborhood on the weekends, he would reminisce about his earlier days of skateboarding. He skateboarded in ditches, in front of convenience stores, and on his street.
Back in the day, this was the world of skateboarding and of skateboarders – they were mini rebels, constantly searching the neighborhood for pavement that their boards could glide or grind on.
These days, skateboarding has gone mainstream and communities have constructed safe skate parks with ramps, rails and 'bowls'. More youth are skateboarding now then ever before. However, the number of girls present in these skate parks remains limited. Below are 9 reasons why we should encourage girls to try skateboarding, and the benefits that each one offers.
Continue reading this article below, or click play to listen to this article being read to you!
First, a little background
My skateboarder husband and I now have three daughters; twin twelve-year-olds and a ten-year-old. Skateboarding has been part of my daughters' lives for many years. They each own four boards, and we are currently in the process of building a halfpipe in our tiny backyard. And though my daughters are great swimmers, they have also participated in baseball, and all share an intense love of basketball. But skateboarding has given them some solid life skills unlike from any other sport or activity in which they have been involved. Of course, their love of skateboarding came directly from their Dad's own love and passion for the sport, but the benefits of skateboarding has convinced me that other girls should be encouraged to join the kids sport.
9 Reasons Why Your Daughter Should Try Skateboarding
1. Skateboarding teaches girls to overcome their fears and to be brave. It also teaches them to accept failure.
Skateboarding has now been a part of my daughters' lives for as long as they can remember. They have fallen hundreds of times. They have seen their dad, at 42 years old, bleed while skateboarding. And, they have seen other skateboarders attempt new tricks but fail again and again.
My girls have gotten back up and grabbed their boards. I’m sure this is because they have also seen their Dad wipe the blood away, throw on a bandage, and grab his board. They have seen their fellow skateboarders eventually master a trick that seemed impossible two to three weeks prior.
Skateboarding teaches girls to be brave. It teaches girls to be ok with failure, and not ok with giving up. Girls become comfortable with allowing their fear to guide them in understanding their physical limitations, while learning to push their limits in spite of their fear.
2. Skateboarding is an exhilarating action sport that gives girls a sense of adventure and thrill without excessive cost
My daughters love roller coasters. They love action. Skateboarding is an action sport that can give girls a taste of adventure and a venue for experiencing a thrill, but in a safe and productive way. Skateboarding is a sport without rules. There are no limits on what a skateboarder can do; new tricks are constantly being created. And, once the skateboard and safety equipment have been purchased, participating in the sport is free.
3. Skateboarding gives girls a complete sense of freedom
Skateboarding can also be a great stress reliever. Skateboarders can lose all sense of time when skating which brings a true sense of freedom when participating in the sport. No buzzers are controlling how long they stay out, no referee is indicating what they may be doing incorrectly, and no teammates are around who can steal their direct connection to their 'game' or their time in the 'game'. When a skater has committed to a skating session, they are in full control of their own movement, time and space. When asked what she likes best about skateboarding, one of my twelve-year olds said 'I don't know. I feel free.'
4. Skateboarding provides a venue for self-expression
Another benefit of skateboarding is that it is an art form. It allows for girls to be creative and express themselves. One of my twelve-year-old twins loves to 'drop-in' on ramps. Standing on the edge of the top of a half-pipe ramp, she pushes most of her weight to the back of the skateboard while her front foot rests strategically on the front.
When she's ready, she forces her body down towards the ground of the ramp, bends her knees, and rolls down. She can do this repeatedly all afternoon. Her twin has no interest in 'dropping in'. Instead, she loves zooming around the inside of the skate park bowl. A bowl pretty much resembles a drained swimming pool. When she picks up enough speed, her petite frame rides around the inside of the bowl almost parallel to the ground.
My youngest one, at ten years old, enjoys the wind blowing through her hair as she glides up and down the short hills in the park. All three of my girls enjoy skating just the same, but each of them have a different way of creatively expressing their individuality.
5. Skateboarding encourages girls to take healthy risks and feel a sense of pride from their accomplishments
I asked one of my daughters if the skills she's developed from skateboarding has helped her in anything else in her life? She replied, 'When I try to do something for the first time, I'm a little scared. But when I think about it, I know I can do it because I've overcome fears in skateboarding.'
Girls also learn to appreciate their own abilities. In many schools across the US, achievement is expressed in grades and test scores. A student's level of success is determined by comparing their test scores to that of their peers.
Skateboarders understand individuality, and find true value in individual achievements. They feel a sense of personal pride in meeting the goals they set for themselves; because the skateboarder is ultimately in charge of their own learning. Skateboarders are also practicing self-discipline and self-determination – essential skills for success in life. Skateboarding also benefits girls by allowing them to see that taking healthy risks can lead to accomplishment. This sense of accomplishment means girls gain better self-esteem and confidence.
6. Skateboarding benefits girls by making them physically stronger and healthier
Skateboarding is tough. Skateboarding is exercise.
According to Everskate, skateboarding burns calories, helps build endurance, increases flexibility, improves precision and motor coordination, increases pain tolerance, and teaches fall prevention as well as how to fall correctly. Skateboarding also gives girls better balance and better muscle tone. Participating in sports on a regular basis fights obesity, diabetes, and promotes a healthy heart!
7. Skateboarding is a sport that works with a girls' schedule as it can be done on their own time – unlike waiting for team sports schedules.
With demanding school, family and social schedules, fitting in a fitness routine can be challenging. Trying to find a sports team, or a scheduled sports lesson, that fits your daughter's limited free time can be difficult. Or, you may find that being on a sports team or taking part in sports lessons is terrific for your daughter two to three days a week, but she would like to do something else physical for a little while on the other days.
Skateboarding affords children a chance to be active for as little or as long as they would like. Whether they want to grab their 'penny' board and glide down the sidewalk for twenty minutes, or they want to grab another board and hit the quarter pipe for a couple of hours. Or perhaps they want to try out new tricks. The amount of time a child invests is up to the child and the parent.
8. Skateboarding can be a great beginning or extension of future sports that last well into adulthood, like snowboarding and surfing.
Although you may not see many fifty year olds carving it up at your local skate ramp, if you visit the beaches of Hawaii or California, I can guarantee you will see more 'mature' surfers in the water. This is because many people find surfing not only relaxing, but also a great form of exercise for those who have developed good balance, and for those who seek a sense of peaceful adventure.
9. Skateboarding brings girls into a new community with other skaters.
Skateboarders belong to a subculture where praise comes from their fellow competitor. Visit a skate park and you will see how beginners and semi-professionals take turns sharing a skate ramp. The 'one rider' at a time rule is consistently applied from park to park.
Master a cool trick and you will hear words of encouragement from nearby skateboarders. Fall without serious injury and you will see on the face of fellow skaters, an encouraging look to get back up and try again. And, as my husband exemplifies, if you are part of the skateboarding community or subculture, you are a lifelong member.
Benefits of Skateboarding
As in many other segments of our society, girls are missing out in this male-dominated sport. Girls should be encouraged to take up Skateboarding not only for the obvious enjoyment it provides, but also for the indispensable skills and benefits that it offers its participants.
Angie Collins is a Parent Coach at Empowered Parents Empowering Daughters. As a Parent Coach, she helps mothers and fathers discover their own strengths so that they feel empowered to face their parenting challenges with confidence. She is particularly interested in Girls Issues and Girl Empowerment. Angie has a BS in Elementary Education from Chaminade University, an MS in Education from Tufts University and has experience as an Elementary School Teacher and a Preschool Teacher Educator with the United States Peace Corps. She lives abroad with her husband and three tween daughters.
- Facebook: @ParentCoachAngie
Why Sports Mouth Guards are Essential in kids sports
by Nicole Kilgore, CDA, RDH
Imagine what it would be like if you suddenly lost one or two of your front teeth. Smiling, talking, eating – everything would suddenly be affected. Knowing how to prevent injuries to your mouth and face is especially important if you participate in organized sports, or other recreational activities. Studies show that up to 39% of dental injuries result from playing sports. Of those injuries, 80% affect front teeth. This is why we are covering the topic of the sports mouth guard.
WHAT ARE MOUTH GUARDS FOR?
When it comes to protecting teeth, the sports mouth guard is an essential piece of athletic gear for all sports. Mouth guards are used to relieve the stress concentrated on the teeth by absorbing the shock vibrations that cause injury. Without a mouth guard to help cushion a blow to the face, a child is 60% more likely to suffer harm to the teeth.
And it's not just injuries to the teeth. Mouth guards protect against cut lips and cheeks. A recent study by the American Academy of General Dentistry suggests that mouth guards can prevent some sports-related concussions, by helping to absorb shock, stabilize the head and neck, and limit movement caused by a direct hit to the jaw
TYPES OF MOUTH GUARDS AND COSTS OF MOUTH GUARDS
There are several different kinds of mouth guards. They ARE NOT all created equal. They vary in price and quality.
CUSTOM MADE MOUTH GUARDS
While the most expensive is at $100-$300, this kind is considered the best of the best. It can be customized not only for the person, but also for the sport, providing more cushioning and coverage for higher contact sports. A dentist or dental lab will take impressions of your child's teeth and then create a custom 'mold' of their teeth to fabricate the final sports mouth guard. Because they are custom-made for your child, they are more comfortable and less bulky than the 'Boil-and-Bite'. Another advantage for custom-made mouth guards is that your dentist can make any adjustments necessary after fabrication, to ensure continued fit throughout use of the mouth guard.
Watch out for online custom-made kits. The materials included may not be enough for the size of your child's mouth. Also, if you make a mistake with the material, you may come up short in making the mouthguard as well. Make sure to check if the online company offers replacements kits if you should need more material.
BOIL-AND-BITE MOUTH GUARDS
Price range for this type of mouthguard varies from $3-$40. You can find them at any local superstore (Walmart, Target, Dick's Sporting Goods). This type is done at home where you boil water and place the horseshoe-shaped plastic into the water. Once softened according to directions; remove and have your child bite firmly until the plastic has cooled. Some of the common problems that arise from this type of mouthguard are poor coverage due to improper sizing. Also, the thin, spongy layer on the inside gets thinned out during the fitting process which compromises coverage.
STOCK, OR 'READY USE' MOUTH GUARDS
These can be bought at pretty much every superstore as well. There are little cheaper yet than Boil-and-Bite; only $1-$15. They come in 4 sizes: Small, medium, large, extra-large. These provide even less coverage than a Boil-and-Bite. Often the fit is so poor that the athlete is forced to clench their teeth during activity just to hold it in place.
Remember, less expensive might be easier on your budget at first, but keep in mind that a compromised fit of your child's mouthguard makes it less effective. A typical white filling is $120 or more. Major tooth repair from a fractured tooth (root canal, crown) can be thousands of dollars. That's 10-30 times the cost of a custom mouthguard!
TIPS ON SHOPPING FOR A SPORTS MOUTH GUARD
As mentioned above, prices and quality vary. Here are some tips for when getting a mouth guard for your child that can save you some $$$, but without compromising the quality.
TIP #1- CHECK YOUR DENTAL INSURANCE.
If you have dental insurance, there is a good possibility that it will cover that cost to have a mouthguard made at your dentist. Insurance companies would rather pay $300 for a mouthguard than $2000 for a root canal.
TIP #2- CHECK WITH YOUR DENTIST.
Dentists want the public to know and be educated on the importance of protecting against sports related dental injuries. Because of this, dentists will often offer 'deals' on sports mouth guards in August. Some dentists include it free with a dental cleaning and exam, while others offer significant discounts.
TIP #3- LOOK FOR THE ADA SEAL OF APPROVAL.
If you are going to purchase a Boil-and-Bite, or Stock, mouth guard make sure the American Dental Association has given the brand its seal of approval. To earn their seal of approval, a company must submit material lists for review and demonstrate that the product meets ADA guidelines and ADA-developed dental standards.
TIP #4- CHECK WITH YOUR CHILD'S SCHOOL.
Many local schools have dentists and dental labs that come to the school to fit and make custom sports mouth guards. Normally, this cost is included in the sports sign-up fee.
SPORTS MOUTH GUARD CONCLUSION
Sports mouth guards prevent over 200,000 sports related dental injuries per year. Make sure your child is as safe as they can be when they are on the playing field.
Nicole is a dental hygienist with over 17 years in the field. She is passionate about children's dental health, and educating the public as to how it is linked to overall health. And it just so happens that her husband, Ken Kilgore, also shares an interest on keeping kids healthy and safe — he makes customized children's beds to help a child transition from crib to big kids bed in a fun way.
To the Sports Parents... Thank you for your support!
by Shari Medini
Athletes get a lot of credit for the dedication, strength, and sacrifice that they show. And they fully deserve that credit! However, they are not the only ones showing dedication, strength, and sacrifice… this article is a 'Thank You' to each sports parent who is the silent strength behind that success, and continue to give their unwavering support.
DEAR SPORTS PARENT, THANK YOU FOR…
The hours that you spend in the car driving to practices and competitions.
Washing loads of disgustingly sweaty laundry.
Giving up your evenings and weekends.
Giving up time that you could have used for your own interests.
Spending your hard-earned money on your athlete's dreams.
Loving your athlete whether they won or lost.
Managing schedules so that your athlete is always where they need to be.
Being brave in the face of injuries and setbacks.
Understanding that practices might come before family vacations.
Your patience when practice runs long.
Showing up to competitions, even when you are too nervous to actually watch.
Encouraging your athlete to keep going when they needed the extra push.
The hours you have inevitably spent wondering what path is best for your athlete.
Trusting your athlete's coaches and your athlete themselves.
Caring about your athlete's happiness and well-being.
Believing in your athletes.
AND ULTIMATELY… THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONSTANT SUPPORT!
Through sports, YOU are providing your children with incredible life-lessons that will serve them well throughout the rest of their lives. Win or lose, they are building character directly because of your support and efforts.
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