How Do You Get Your Kids Excited About Sports and Other Activities?

United States
January 1, 2008 3:49pm CST
Winter soccer and basketball sign ups are a week away and my sons (ages 5 and 6) were less than excited about playing sports over the summer. I am a firm believer that kids need to be involved in some type of physical activity. I don't think either one of them has the coordination to play basketball so I want to enroll them in soccer and I know when I ask them they will be all for it but if the summer soccer they were in is any indicator how the winter soccer will go then it may turn out to be a disaster by the first game. Any suggestions on how to get my boys excited about playing sports and have the excitement last longer than a week?
3 people like this
11 responses
@johnrp (70)
• United States
1 Jan 08
To me ages 5 and 6 sound very young for organized sports. There are all sorts of physical activities other than organized sports. Sports are good because of the social aspect, but I don't think they're so great for health. They might even do more harm than good.
2 people like this
• United States
1 Jan 08
I think they need to learn team work and how to function as part of a team. When we play in the backyard there are no rules and it's just for fun but sooner or later they have to learn the sports they like for real. They also enjoy swimming but it's not so much swimming as it is splashing the crap out of each other in a pool.
1 person likes this
@gdisites (161)
• United States
1 Jan 08
I'm in agreement with you both! John's right, too young. But, on the other hand they do need to learn how to cooperate and be part of a team.
1 person likes this
@gdisites (161)
• United States
1 Jan 08
I'm in agreement with you both! John's right, too young. But, on the other hand they do need to learn how to cooperate and be part of a team.
1 person likes this
@suehan1 (4355)
• Australia
2 Jan 08
my son has a.d.h.d.he is very difficult to motivate to do any sport.i have tried and failed with several options.karate,boxing football etc,but these only last a few weeks.i have just realised that he really likes the beach ,so i am going to enrol him in the little nippers club,this is a club run by the lifesavers at the local beach and they get to do all sorts of activities and excerises with them.do you live near a beach.it has taken me a few years yo discover what my son really likes.it is a lot of trial and error finding the right sport for a child.good luck
1 person likes this
• United States
2 Jan 08
Suehan, I don't know if where you live you have organization that actually have youth activities that are specialized for children with ADHD, My son and daughter both have that and I go with ACRP and their programs because they actually work with kids that have ADHD. They have really good programs and they also have a summer treatment program where they teach the kids to deal with their ADHD and get them ready to be focused when fall comes around for school. I find them a great help. I wonder if there are any organizations in your area that you might be able to look into that they have sports and youth activities designed for kids with ADHD. Have a nice day.
1 person likes this
@suehan1 (4355)
• Australia
2 Jan 08
thanks bella.i live in australia and i do not think we have anything like that here.it sounds great and i will speak to the specialist about if knows of any organisations like this around.i know we really could use organisations like this and i think australia is lacking in this depatment.cheers sue
• United States
2 Jan 08
I want to join the Little Nippers club! lol No unfortunately I live quite a ways from any significant body of water, the best I could do would be swimming lessons but just seeing what they do to each other in a kiddie pool has me fearful of even thinking about it. I'm sure as they get older they will start to be more involved in the activities they want to do. I played basketball for the school I went to in 4th grade then moved up to soccer in 5th grade then settled with cheer leading between 6th and 8th. But right now I just need something for them to do and Soccer and Basketball are my only options.
@bellaofchaos (11550)
• United States
1 Jan 08
Well are any of their friends in the indoor sports because that might make them more excited than just for a week. I have been doing the indoor winter sports for sometime with my kids and they like it but that is becuase they know other kids in their teams. But at first it was a big disaster they had no clue what to do but they now have done it that they enjoy it. It gives them a way to run out their energy and find new friends. Good luck and let me know how it turns out.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Jan 08
That's an excellent idea. I'm going to call my friend who has kids my sons ages and ask her if she thinks her kids might be interested. Thanks Bella!
• United States
2 Jan 08
your welcome let me know how it turns out!
1 person likes this
@lightningd (1041)
• United States
2 Jan 08
My son's involvement in rodeo evolved from them seeing their parents involved in it. The oldest really enjoys it. He wasn't old enough to enter competitions other than sheep riding until he was 8, because of the various association rules at the time. (There have since been some new youth associations that have age groups as young as 2 where they rope a dummy, or do a variation on goat tying.) Anyway, keeping the kids interested and involved can be a difficult thing to do. My oldest loved to be able to watch his competitions so he could see where he could improve. (the perfectionist)... the younger one couldn't have cared less. Forcing a child to stay in a sport they don't enjoy only creates resentment. It is far better to let them try a sport and decide on their own if they enjoy it or not. My youngest did not enjoy the rodeos, he got into dirt bikes. The key here was to offer your support and coaching regardless of what they choose to do. By coaching, I mean, don't over criticize. Always try to find at least one good or positive thing in everything they attempt. Children sometimes get more enjoyment out of activities if they see their parents doing the same thing. Be that bowling, darts, swimming, soccer, rodeo, flag football, softball or baseball. Just don't force it. I still elieve 5 and 6 is a bit young to be expecting a child to stay focused for a team sport. I'm not saying they shouldn't be involved, but I am saying don't expect too much.
1 person likes this
• United States
2 Jan 08
Thank you for finding this lightningd since it was a comment you left that prompted me to write it. Also thank you for the suggestions. I am picking soccer for my sons because they love to play it with me and their sister and her friends in the back yard. They were excited when they played it in the summer but liked the practices more than they liked the games. Both of my boys are in constant competition with each other and I think putting them on the same team is what made them not like playing the games. In practice they would be split up and one team would ultimately beat the other team. lol
@dreamy1 (3815)
• United States
1 Jan 08
If they're not interested they're just not interested I wouldn't force them to do it. Maybe there are other sports they'd like more. I agree that physical activity is essential for kids, heck everyone. When I was a kid I had the best time playing kickball and tag and running around with my friends. I didn't participate in organized teams I wasn't interested in that. What about just giving them a ball and letting them get outside and just run around. Do they really need to be in organized sports especially if they aren't interested?
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Jan 08
The purpose of winter sports leagues is because in this state there is no going outside and doing anything until mid to late April. There is very little physical stuff they can do until summer so I am looking for a way to interest them in what they have available to them now.
@arkaf61 (10882)
• Canada
2 Jan 08
Sure it is a good idea for kids to be active and moving around but it feels to me that maybe you are trying to get them to fulfill your expectations more than just wanting them to exercise. Sometimes just take them to the skating ring and have fun is a good exercise, a walk in the park checking all the changes from summer to winter, a funny contest of who can walk the most steps in a certain period of time - a pedometer will help on this one and the involvement of at least one more member of the family :) -, a swim day a week in the community center pool - for example - can be both fun and a healthy activity, if there's a zoo in your city, take your kids there one day. It's a nice walk and they get to see the animals in their winter coats:) , put your favorite dancing CD on and have a dance contest:) .. all those are good exercising activities that can help keeping not only your kids but the rest of the family fit as well :) Organized sports are not the only fitness activity and it's not something that always works with all kids. Plus at their ages, your kids might not stay committed to one thing only yet. They don't necessarily know what they like and will try everything but loose interest fast. Also considerate that not all kids enjoy the same things. Sure baseball and soccer are great. My kids loved soccer, but we didn't get enroll them until later. Instead we used to play family soccer games during summer. In time they started enjoying it and my daughter was in the soccer team at school until last year. My son on the other hand never really enjoyed that kind of sports that much, so I didn't push him. A few years back he asked us if he could enroll in a martial arts program. We agreed and he's been there for the last 5 years and shows much more interest than he ever did for soccer or basketball or any other sport we thought he might like. At their age, what is important is to get them moving, walk, run, etc much more than enroll them in any specific sports. They will start making their minds in a few years and then you can think more about that. This is just my opinion of course, and I know that a lot of young kids enjoy organized sports,and are enrolled since an early age, but in my experience a big number prefer to try a bit of everything instead of committing to one thing only and make a special choice later.
• United States
2 Jan 08
I will never be the parent who lives through their children. I did everything I wanted to do as a child and usually had to beg and plead to be allowed to participate. I will never force my children into anything they say they do not want to do but I also believe that once they say they want to do something they have to stick with it until the end. what kind of message does it give kids who try things for a few weeks and then whine and cry until they get out of it? That isn't the kind of lesson I want my boys to learn at any age!
1 person likes this
@arkaf61 (10882)
• Canada
2 Jan 08
I understand what you're saying and I agree with you in principle, but maybe they're not ready to commit to any specific sport yet, and that's why I say that maybe you should get them generally active without committing to anything that structured yet. Sure it's good to teach kids to finish what they atart, that is actually the idea, but they might not be ready to start yet. MY kids stayed committed to their choices for about 8 years - for my daughter - and 5 - so far for my son. But I waited until a bit later for them to choose what they really wanted.
• United States
3 Jan 08
Then at the very least my children will learn not to tell me they want to become involved in something unless they are ready to stick with it. I remember when I was in 1st grade, same as my oldest son, my mother tried to force me into Girl Scouts and I was completely against the idea. Then 3 years later when I wanted to play basketball I was initially told no because I wouldn't join Girl Scouts. Eventually she came around and I hated basketball but I stuck with it through the whole season. Since they already told me they want to do it and their friends are going to be in the same league as them then regardless what their views on it become after they start they will stick with it.
@pumpkinjam (5801)
• United Kingdom
2 Jan 08
Please don't take this the wrong way but, if your kids aren't interested then don't force them. Organised sport isn't the only way for them to be physically active. Ask them what they would like to do. I always ask my 7 year old if he wants to join in when things like that come up at his school (he always says no!) and I regularly ask him if there is a hobby he would like to do. He did go ice skating but got bored! He still likes to go for walks with me, ride his bike with his dad and gets plenty of exercise ever day. Obviously, if your kids say they want to join in the winter soccer, then fine but I think you should ask them rather than expecting them. And, to be honest, if they have no co-ordination then they are probably not going to be that good at most sports! I have that problem with my 7 year old. He can't even catch a ball but he isn't interested so I'll keep trying but it's not important and he's not interested.
• United States
2 Jan 08
That's my point. When asked they are ALL for it! They WANT to do it. They are great at practices. They have no interest in the actual games though. My question is how do I keep their initial enthusiasm?
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
3 Jan 08
I see what you mean. You don't think you're putting too much pressure on them to be good are you? It's not unusual for people to enjoy participating in things but not want to compete. It might be an idea to explain to them that they are there for their own enjoyment and each competition is just the same as the practice. Actually, thinking about it, they don't have a pushy coach do they? Maybe you could have words to make sure no one else is putting unneccessary pressure on the kids for the games. Ask your kids why they are only interested in the practice because they will probably tell you straight!
• United States
3 Jan 08
I know I don't put too much pressure on them. I am all about encouragement of anything any of my kids wants to do. I really think their anxiety over games is from their want to be the best at everything they do. They are old enough to realize that the practices don't mean anything but they take a game loss to heart because of the pizza party the winning team gets at the end of the season. I have already told them that as long as they play their best throughout the season we will all go to Chuck E Cheese whether their team wins or loses.
@carolbee (16241)
• United States
2 Jan 08
Maybe talk to the parents of one of your son's friends. Ask them if their son is interested in playing soccer with your son. When they are young, it's always more appealing to be involved in a sport with a friend. I agree with you about kids being involved in some type of physical activity. We have three grown daughters. Two played several sports but the oldest had no interest. She lacked the coordination to play softball. She played one year and about half killed herself trying to be the catcher on a team. We encouraged her to find another sport or activity. Next daughter had a natural talent for any sport, much like myself. Our youngest had to work so hard to play softball but eventually got there. She's the one who earned a four college scholarship to one of the local universities in our area. It was just wonderful, not to mention the financial aspect of being able to earn her degree via another source. To force our first daughter to play any sport would not have been a good idea. She didn't have the interest. Again I suggest finding another friend who would join the team(s) with your sons would be a good idea. Good luck.
• United States
2 Jan 08
I'm actually going with one of my friends to the sign ups. She is enrolling her kids at the same time. I'm hoping that my boys having friends on the team is enough motivation. Thanks for your reply.
@carolbee (16241)
• United States
2 Jan 08
I believe it will make a difference. Saw it with our kids.
• Canada
3 Jan 08
you have to let them find something they enjoy. with my kids its all about swimming...even if it is not a lesson every week, just the whole family going and playing around at the local pool is great exercise. Boxing is really good too as long as they aren't sparing...teaches self disipline too. there are so many activities out there...even sledding is a great activity. hope that helps
• United States
3 Jan 08
sledding depends on the weather and swimming depends on the local indoor pool. I really needed something structured and my only options were basketball and soccer at this time of year. So I asked them, they picked soccer and now the battle begins on keeping them interested in it. But thanks for your comment.
@youless (93497)
• Guangzhou, China
2 Jan 08
You are right. Perhaps at first you need to be excited to the sports and therefore your children will be affected by you. For example, I like watching America's Funniest Home Videos. And my 3 years old son becomes to enjoy it, too. Although usually he is not interested in watching TV. But when America's Funniest Home Videos shows, he will be so happy and laugh with me.
• United States
2 Jan 08
That is why I picked soccer because they love when we all go outside and play it together. I'm hoping just me being at the games shouting encouragement from the sidelines is enough to keep them interested in more than just the practices.
@Ravenladyj (22937)
• United States
2 Jan 08
Yes kids need some sort of physical activity daily BUT that doesnt mean they HAVE TO play sports and....why not ask them what they'd like to do..it could be as simple as going for family walks or bike rides or maybe a dance class or gymnastics etc..there are tons of options...My son has NO DESIRE at all to do sports, he's more of a artsy type but he loves swimming, he loves jumping on the trampoline and he loves going for bike rides with me etc..He's mentioned that he wants to take a hip hop dance class which I'll be looking in to....Give them a variety of options and go from there..
• United States
2 Jan 08
Winter in this state means you are indoors from Mid October to late April. There are very limited weekly physical activities for them to choose from and when asked they both said they WANTED to play soccer. If they didn't WANT to I would NEVER force them. The question is how to I keep them interested for the duration?