Monday, February 24, 2014

Setting Strong Foundations for Our Young Children in Sports

Written by Julia Sappenfield

Preschool soccer

Many of you probably remember playing sports as children: picking teams, trying new games, the rush of victory, and the (momentary) crush of defeat.  We learned to make friends by capturing the flag, but we also blushed at being chosen last.  We learned that there are winners and losers, and that we always have to compete in order to win.  Having been inundated by the First Lady with statistics about childhood obesity and healthy lifestyles, Americans are very much aware that we should expose our children to sports and athletics at young ages.  But how young?  And in what way?  And should we worry that our children will become too outcome-driven and competitive?

Many of us are trying to figure out when to get the little one onto his first snowboard, or into her first sports class.  There are, within a 20 minute drive of my home, gymnastics, karate, tennis, skiing, football, soccer, and other sports classes for kids as young as 3 or even 2.  Our little ones only have so much time and energy in a week – so how do we choose between these offerings, and even more importantly, WHEN should we choose an activity like this for our kids?

Dr. Richard Ginsburg, Co-Director of the MGH PACES Institute of Sport Psychology and professor at Harvard Medical School, recently co-authored Whose Game Is It, Anyway?  In that book, he and his co-authors consider the benefits and detriments of early exposure to sports and athletics, from various perspectives: medical, psychosocial, and educational.  

Join us on Thursday, March 6th, at North Hill in Needham, for a discussion led by Dr. Ginsburg as he explores the effects of sports participation on young children, and a healthy way to introduce our children to playing sports.

To register, please click here for Eventbrite

photo credit: Keysia~Luvs2TakePics~ via photopin cc

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