What to do when your child’s just not into sports

What to do when your child’s just not into sports

Finding activities your child loves can be challenging. It’s especially tough if your child has social anxiety or a learning disability, or tends to avoid new people or group activities. 

Thankfully, participation in team sports and organized activities is just one way kids can grow up active and healthy. 

When in doubt, go back to basics

The most important aspect of getting your child more active is to find something they love to do. Once they become interested and engaged, it will not be hard to get them moving each day. 

Think back to your childhood. What activities and games did you enjoy when you were a child? You may surprise yourself at what you can remember after you sit down and think about it. 

Remember hula hoops?

I can remember, as a child, spending hours on my driveway playing with a hula hoop. This fun activity is perfect alone, as a family, or with one or two close friends. This tool is excellent to use around the waist, legs, and even arms for alternative ways to get moving. 

Related read: How to make your own hula hoop

Playing with a hula hoop is a low-impact activity that can help your child become more active. Hula hoops also have these added benefits: 

  • Build coordination 
  • Improve motor skills
  • Increase body awareness 
  • Strengthen core muscles
  • Develop flexibility
  • Tone muscles in the legs, arms, and stomach
  • Build endurance 

And how about hopscotch games?

Draw squares with chalk on the sidewalk with numbers and use a pebble to throw on a square. Hop on one foot in each square until you reach the end, while avoiding the marked square. There are variations you can use to make the game more or less challenging to suit your child. 

Hopscotch can build self-confidence and encourage movement, even for children with physical limitations. Other advantages of hopscotch include: 

  • Develops coordination 
  • Builds body strength
  • Increases balance
  • Creates body awareness
  • Builds cognitive functions
  • Improves both gross and fine motor skills 

Get your kids involved

There are many ways to help get your child moving without team sports or complex activities. Try sitting down with your child to brainstorm some ideas and see what interests them. 

One method I’ve used with my children was to create an activity list together, then post it to our fridge. We included as many activities we could think of, listing simple things like an obstacle course or a jumping jack challenge. Each day we would try one, then cross it off the list. Each day offered a new challenge that my child could look forward to. 

Related read: Tips for getting active with your non-sporty child

If your child prefers to play on their own or in small groups, don’t feel you need to push them to join a team or sign up for a program at your local rec centre. Do what works best for you and your family. With your support and with plenty of time for active play every day, you can help your child discover how they love to move.

3 responses to “What to do when your child’s just not into sports

  1. In fact, team sports should not be ignored, even in a situation with difficult socialization. You just have to gradually increase the number of people around you. For example, first there may be jumping rope for two, then “jumping in rubber bands” for three, then ball games for a small company, and so on. You can also try to give the child to clubs, such as swimming, where little by little she socializes and finds friends. This will help you avoid many problems in the future, including depression and loneliness.

  2. I think horse sports have a great role to play here. Interacting with horses can be a great motivator to get kids outdoors, off their phones and being active. They are also a great way to build confidence and a whole range of skills in emotional and physical awareness. Pony Club Australia rolled out a Centre Membership program this year for riders who don’t have their own horse to experience all the benefits of horse riding. Many Centres offer the choice of group or one-on-one lessons depending on the child’s preference. And it’s an all-ages program so parents can get involved too and make it a family activity.

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