Organized Sports are Not Always the Answer


A boy playing chess.As with any family of multiple children, our kids are their own person and are very different from one another. While my boys love Legos, the outdoors, and video games, their personalities, ambitions, and interests vary greatly.

It is easy to get swept up in enrolling our kids in the same activities, but it is important to pause and ensure we aren’t just on autopilot. I come from a family of five children, and I applaud my parents for having this patience and energy with each of us. Revisiting what activities my family is involved in to make sure they truly align with our values and interests is part of my regular routine. 

My older son has always been attracted to typical team sports such as baseball and basketball. My younger son has different interests and needs. While he is not active in the same way that his older brother is, he does want to be part of a team, even if it is just a low-key one through the town. This can prove tricky and expensive, so we must strike a balance!

1. Tap Into Activities Where Athleticism Is Not the Main Focus

My youngest loves coding, and I am thankful we have found a local opportunity for him to do, so that doesn’t involve him just sitting at a computer! Even for the traditionally athletic, team sports-oriented child, it is important to remember that trying different activities is important. Writing and drawing are encouraged in our house and having music playing whenever possible. Exploring your creative side can open up different pathways and activate endorphins. 

2. Look For Opportunities to Compete With or Alongside Like-Minded Kids

Recently, my oldest has gotten into playing chess again. I tapped into the local library and found a chess club for teens. He asked a friend he plays with often online to join, and now he has a local place to play, away from the temptation of his phone. Win, win!

3. Sometimes, Organized Activity Is Not the Answer

Oftentimes this puts more work on the parent. I am guilty of this with both of my kids. Creating a curated team environment means you talk with your child to find out who has similar interests. Are there opportunities for our kids to jump into an activity you don’t have to organize? Yes, all the time. But if that is not a good match for your child, you do what you must, or you’ll risk wasting money. 

4. The First Time at an Activity Might Be The Last or, Maybe Not

How many times have you enrolled your child in an activity only to have them claim they were miserable? Keep in mind their mood might have been off that day, or they might have been tired. Agree to try again. Raising kids is similar to a video game. Sometimes you move a piece forward; sometimes, the same piece moves backward. It’s all about trying different things out and seeing what sticks!

What activities other than sports do your children enjoy?


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