Why preschooler sports are important for your child’s development

Three is an ideal age to introduce your preschooler to sports. Preschooler sports aren’t about competition or winning and losing. Participating in sports for 3-year-olds actually has a lot of benefits for children. Three is not too young to be signing your child up for a youth sports activity. Sure, preschoolers aren’t ready for some sports like football and hockey, but three is a prime time for youngsters to begin joining in on some sports that are ideal for developing muscles.

Benefits of preschool sports

Getting your preschooler active in youth sporting activities isn’t about getting them started on the road to earn that college athletic scholarship. Participating in a sport geared toward preschoolers is important for a child’s social, emotional, and physical development. Here are some of the pluses to getting your child out on the field, in the gym, or in the pool.

Gross motor skills

Running, jumping, hopping, and other gross motor skills come from working the large muscles of the body. When kids are outside or inside playing in an organized sports, they are developing those all-important gross motor, balance, and coordination skills.

Overall health

Indoors or outdoors, participating in organized sports is excellent for your child’s overall health. By encouraging youth sports at an early age, you are teaching your child about the importance of exercise. Playing sports builds muscles while exercising the heart and lungs. Time outside playing sports has also been found to decrease the likelihood of vision problems in childhood.

Socialization

Taking part in a preschool sport is a wonderful way for your 3-year-old to make friends. Parents can also connect with other adults and the next thing you know, there’s a play date on the calendar. Introducing your kiddo to group activities also helps prepare him or her for school.

Learning important social skills

Heading to the field or gym for a group sports activity teaches kids basic social skills that make transitioning to preschool and later kindergarten much less stressful. When 3-year-olds participate in a team sport, they learn how to take turns. This may seem simple, but it isn’t to a 3-year-old. Kids also learn how to wait, follow directions from their coach as well as learning rules. These are all skills they will need for school.

Build self-esteem and confidence

The emphasis on preschool sports is about fun and exercise. For preschoolers, being a part of a team is great for self-esteem, which leads to more confidence on and off the field.

Best sports for preschoolers

If you’re looking to get your preschooler involved in sports, these are ideal for 3-year-olds.

preschool girl having fun playing soccer

Soccer

This is a perfect pick for preschoolers. Kids are outside running around and working gross motor skills while being introduced to the sport. Soccer is excellent for socialization and is an exciting way to introduce your preschooler to sports. Many communities have recreational soccer programs for 3-year-olds. If not, check out programs like Lil’Kickers that are specifically designed for preschoolers.

preschooler playing t- ball

T-ball

There may not be as much action and running in t-ball, but it’s still super fun and earmarked for preschoolers. T-ball programs are outside in the fall and spring and most communities offer one. This activity introduces preschoolers to the basics of softball and baseball. It’s terrific for gross motor skill development and hand-eye coordination.

preschoolers having fun in gym class

Gymnastics

A parent-and-me class in gymnastics can be a top choice because it gets preschoolers and adults, too, running, climbing, crawling, and jumping. Classes are geared toward preschoolers with a parent or caregiver and introduce kids to the basics of gymnastics in a stress-free and fun environment. If your preschooler takes a liking to jumping on the trampoline and doing forward rolls, he or she can graduate to a class where parents wait outside and watch.

Swimming

Like gymnastics, a parent/child swimming class is a perfect way to introduce kids to the water while making friends. This is ideal if there’s a pool in your backyard. Parent/child swim classes are typically offered at communities pools each summer or at YMCA’s and gyms year-round.

Other sports

Sports like basketball, lacrosse, hockey, tennis, football, and golf are all wonderful youth sports to get your child involved in. Three is a bit young though to introduce these sports. If you’re interested in getting your child involved in these cool sports, it might be best to wait until at least five before getting them involved in a class or signing them up for a team. Many leagues recommend eight as a good age to start on the gridiron.

Getting your child involved in youth sports as a preschooler offers a lot of physical, social, and emotional pluses. If your child continues in youth sports, the benefits continue. Three is the ideal age to begin introducing your child to soccer, t-ball, gymnastics, or even swimming. Whether it’s a team or a parent-and-child class, these activities provide preschoolers with fun, exercise, socialization, and more. Your first stop to finding an appropriate youth sports activity for your three-year-old is your community. Many local recreation department offer soccer and t-ball programs. Community pools and gyms typically have parent-and-child swimming and gymnastic classes on the calendar.

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