I actually wanna be a soccer mom.

March 25, 2011 at 7:37 am Leave a comment

Alissa is almost four.  And lately I’ve been thinking it’s time for her to get involved in gymnastics or dance or swim or something. Some sort of activity that gets her moving and introduces her to the concepts of sports.

We tried last fall.  The Y offers micro-soccer: soccer for the 3-year-old set.  Mostly, it’s practice, with a bunch of kids on the field with their parents doing drills.  Every night, Alissa would start off excited about going, and we’d pack everything up and tromp out to the fall.  And then, five minutes into the session, she would shut down.  Completely.  We’re talking head down, arms crossed, I’m-not-moving-and-you-can’t-make-me kind of shut down.

Nothing worked.  We even let her wear her princess tiara one night during practice, in the hopes it would help.  No such luck.  She merely wanted to sit on the sidelines and watch.  Too much chaos for her taste.

I was disappointed.  I’d paid good money for her to participate and I hated watching it go to waste.  I was disappointed because I’m kinda looking forward to being the quintessential soccer mom, schlepping my kids to games and becoming their #1 super fan.  I was disappointed because I had such a good time playing sports as a kid, loved it when each new season rolled around and it was time to switch to softball or volleyball or basketball.

And there it is.  I’m eager to get her to participate in sports because of me.  Because of the ideas in my head of how her life should be, in order to accomplish the ideas of what my life should be.  I’m forgetting a key something:  SHE’S THREE.  She has an entire life of sports ahead of her, if she chooses to participate.

But see, here’s the thing.  I see other kids her age who are playing soccer and doing swim lessons.  My 4-year-old nephew is playing t-ball this spring.  And I wonder if she’s going to be behind when – if – she finally decides to participate in some of these things.

According to a recent article in Parenting: The Early Years, probably not.  The article states: “…until about the age of 7 or 8, competition can be stressful for kids and turn them off of sports forever.”  It also states that “each year, more than 3.5 million kids under age 14 receive medical treatments for sports injuries,” a direct result of kids starting sports earlier and earlier.

The experts in the article stress that children Alissa’s age should be focused on play, not competition.  Sure, they should be active, but they should be focused on exercise for exercise’s sake, not for sports-specific skill building.

Do the experts recommend you pull your child from all their activities?  Absolutely not.  Instead, they recommend that you introduce kids to a wide variety of sports, including team-based (such as soccer) and individual sports (such as swimming).  This not only exposes your child to their favorite sport of choice, but also ensures that all the muscle groups are being used in different ways.

The experts also recommend that your child takes a season off here and there.  It allows your child to get the rest he or she needs, and also gives them time to just be a kid.

Right now, I’m planning on swim lessons for Alissa, because it’s important she be able to swim.  And she’s leaning towards dance classes, more because of the pretty costumes than the actual dance component, I think.  We’ll try the soccer thing again in a year or so.  Maybe next time, she’ll even be willing to leave her princess tiara at home.  After all, you can’t really do a header with a crown on your head.

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Entry filed under: Life in general.

Oh, Lord, what have I done??? Read this book!

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