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When to Start
- Trust your intuition. You know your child better than anyone else. It's okay to go with what your instincts tell you are in the best interests of your child. It's the kind of thing mothers have been doing for eons.
- Consider your child's age, skills, and maturity level. Most children aren't ready to participate in organized sports until they are four or five (and even then, only on a limited basis). Experts recommend against team sports before age six and that contact sports wait until middle school. A child needs to have mastered basic skills (running, throwing, balance and ability to track objects and judge speeds) before she begins sports. Unfortunately, according to one study, about half start without those skills. Your child is mature enough to play a team sport if she has a long enough attention span and enough self-discipline to learn from group instruction. remember: Playing sports won't speed up the maturation process.
- Get in touch with your feelings. Watching a young child play sports will trigger your natural instinct to protect and nurture. If you think you would probably rush on to the field if your child was injured in a game, you may not be ready to handle the stress of your child's participation.