Want your daughter to be the next Serena Williams or Michelle Wie? You’re not alone. Many parents are enrolling their kids in sporting programs earlier and earlier, some as soon as four months of age. So how young is too young?
Some say there’s no such thing. Even if parents aren’t swinging for the bleachers of professional sports, they figure if it can help their kid get even the slightest edge over the competition, what’s the harm? No one wants their little Johnny to be picked last to join the team.
I think it’s great to introduce kids to all kinds of new things, but touting a technically correct way to hold a tennis racket to a 6-month-old is a bit much. The same with soccer programs for kids who can’t yet walk.
This is when people get too carried away in the parental push to give our kids the best and to be the best. Sporting programs for babies aren’t guaranteed to give your kids a head start and some doctors worry it could mean there will be even younger kids withoveruse injuries.
That being said I think organized sports are great, they get you physically active, help with socialization, self-discipline, confidence, etc. etc. Our 3 1/2-year-old Logan is in swimming lessons and last summer he went to a week long Chicago Fire soccer camp with his dad. He loved it so much we signed him up for Lil’ Kickers, another soccer program with classes this spring.
In these programs, there’s no pressure to grow up and bend it like Beckham. It’s organized chaos of flying mini soccer balls where the only goal is to have fun. And isn’t that supposed to be the point?
Go West readers: What age did your children get involved with sports programs? Do you feel like there is too much pressure too early? Or do you think there is only pressure if the parents create that kind of atmosphere?
She’sWrite is the pen name of a journalist who lives in the northwest suburbs with her endearing Norwegian husband. She usually commutes daily into the Loop, but she’s currently on a six-month maternity leave and is at home with her baby boy and 3-year-old son. Every Wednesday on Go West Young Mom, you’ll find her musings about being a mom, career woman, wife and friend, and the crazy juggling act in this curious circus that we call life. She publishes several times a week on her own blog, also called She'sWrite, and you can subscribe there to get email notifications of new posts.